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Dante Chirico
Dante Chirico pitched into the eighth inning in Saturday's win against Old Dominion.
photo courtesy of Appalachian State Athletics

Appalachian State Baseball Sweeps Doubleheader From South Alabama

App State was dominant both on the mound and at the plate on Sunday, sweeping a double header from South Alabama with a 10-2 win in game one, and a 13-1 win in seven innings in game two, notching their third straight Sun Belt Series win.

The Mountaineers are now 28-16-1 on the season and 13-10-1 in Sun Belt play, with a record of 7-1-1 over their last three weekends.

GAME 1
Dante Chirico was sensational on the mound for the Mountaineers in game one. The right-hander tossed a career-high seven innings, giving up just one run on one hit, while striking out six to earn the victory.

After giving up a leadoff home run to Will Turner to begin the ballgame, Chirico rebounded in impressive fashion, setting down each of the next 13 batters he faced. Chirico struck out five batters over that span.

After allowing an unearned run in the fifth inning, Chirico again bounced back, setting down the final seven batters he faced in the outing.

Cody Little came out of the bullpen to retire all six batters he faced, including two strikeouts to complete the one-hit effort. The duo combined to hold South Alabama to 1-for-29 at the plate.

The Mountaineers have now spun a one-hitter in three consecutive seasons, with Eli Ellington and Caleb Cross combining to one-hit UT-Arlington in 2022 and Xander Hamilton and Seth Whitley combining to one-hit No. 8 Coastal Carolina in 2023.

The App State offense provided plenty of support. CJ Boyd crushed a three-run home run in the first inning to tie Andre Crawford (1985-87) for the all-time program record with his 33rd home run of the year.

Banks Tolley continued his power surge with a pair of solo home runs as part of a five-RBI game. The Sun Belt leader in home runs, Tolley has now recorded four two-homer games this season.

The Mountaineers pulled away with a three-run sixth inning, highlighted by a two-run single from Austin St. Laurent.

GAME 2
App State pitching continued its success in the second game of the doubleheader. Trey Tujetsch got the start and retired the first eight batters he faced. Extending back to the first game, App State pitching retired 21 batters in a row and went 39 consecutive plate appearances without allowing a hit.

The offense set the tone early, batting around in each of the first two frames. Tolley opened the scoring with his third homer of the day, a three-run shot to left field for his league-leading 21st long ball of the year.

Tolley and Drew Holderbach each tallied a four-hit game in the finale, combining for eight hits, three RBI and six runs scored in the contest.

After scoring five runs in the first frame, Xavier Moronta highlighted a four-run second inning with a two-run home run to right field.

Braxton Church then launched a two-run home run to left field to extend the lead to 12-0 in the third. Church added an RBI groundout in the fourth to push the lead to 13-0.

Nathan Wood broke up the shutout in the sixth inning on a solo home to left field.

Tujetsch worked 3.1 scoreless innings, departing with two men on base in the fourth. Grey LaSpaluto came out of the bullpen to get a one-pitch double play ball to escape trouble in the inning.

LaSpaluto went on to work 3.2 innings allowing just one run on two hits and struck out four. The duo combined to allow just four hits in the game. Tujetsch has not allowed a run over his last three outings, totaling 8.1 innings off work.

On the day, App State pitching totaled 12 three-up, three-down innings out of the 16 total innings pitched in the doubleheader.

Offensively, App State slugged nine home runs in the series, pushing their total to 83 on the year, seven shy of the program record of 90 set in 1986.

App State will be back in action Friday when they travel to Old Dominion for a three-game weekend series. The Monarchs are 12-12 in Sun Belt play this season after dropping their weekend series at Texas State.

{Information provided by Appalachian State Athletics}