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Luke Drumheller
Luke Drumheller was Luke Drumheller went four-for-five batting with a pair of doubles, three runs scored and two RBI.
photo courtesy of Appalachian State Athletics

Appalachian State Baseball Survives in Sun Belt Tournament

App State scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to take the lead, and was able to hold onto the advantage in the ninth, fending off James Madison 8-7 and staving off elimination at Riverwalk Stadium.

A trio of fifth year seniors ignited the late-game heroics at the plate. Tied 5-5, Andrew Terrell led off the home eighth with a single to the hole at shortstop. After Terrell stole second to advance into scoring position, Luke Drumheller bounced a ball off the first base bag and into right field for a go-ahead single. On the very next pitch Hayden Cross crushed a two-run home run to right field to give the Mountaineers an 8-5 advantage.

James Madison loaded the bases in the ninth, but Skylar Brooks (save, 2) came out of the bullpen and got the final two outs to secure the save, and the win for the Mountaineers, helped by a leaping catch on the warning track from CJ Boyd for the final out of the ballgame.

App State (28-24) struck first with a pair of runs in the third inning. Boyd laced a double to the left-center gap, and two batters later Drumheller followed with a double of his own to give the Mountaineers a 1-0 lead. Cross followed with an RBI single to right field to make it 2-0.

Drumheller finished the contest with a four-hit outing, in his 225th career game in a Black and Gold uniform, tying Hector Crespo’s program record.

After the Dukes took a brief lead, following a three-run homer in the top of the fourth, App State responded immediately in the home half of the frame. Austin St. Laurent doubled to left field, and Hunter Wilder followed with a single up the middle to tie the score. Two batters later, Boyd pushed a bunt up the first base line for a hit, scoring Wilder who had made his way around to third base, putting the Mountaineers ahead, 4-3.

St. Laurent came through with an RBI single in the fifth, to score Drumheller who had reached on a leadoff single to cap a three-hit game for the App State shortstop.

JMU tied the score with a two-run homer in the seventh, and threatened to take the lead in the eighth, but Jeriah Henry (win, 1-0) came out of the bullpen to roll an inning-ending double play ball to escape the jam.

Dante Chirico made his third start of the season, and went 5.1 innings giving up just three runs on four hits, all coming on the fourth inning home run. Chirico struck out three before turning the ball over to Grey LaSpaluto, who fanned two more in two innings of work.

App State finished with 15 hits for the second consecutive ballgame. In addition to multi-hit games from Drumheller and St. Laurent, Boyd tallied a three-hit game to extend his hitting streak to 16 in a row, while Xavier Moronta’s first inning single extended his hitting streak to 18 straight games.

App State will return to action Friday at 4 p.m. ET when they will face the loser of second-seeded Southern Miss and third-seeded Troy in an elimination game. The contest will air on ESPN+.