App State swept a home-opening doubleheader Saturday, winning 6-2 and 7-6 against North Carolina A&T.
After playing only twice on their new turf on Beaver Field at Jim and Bettie Smith Stadium before the 2020 season was cut short, the Mountaineers pushed the home winning streak to four games and improved to 5-1 this season. In those five wins, they’ve outscored their opponents 13-2 in the final three innings.
Luke Drumheller reached base in seven of his 10 plate appearances on a day in which App State totaled 26 hits. Hayden Cross threw out two steal attempts, and left fielder Kendall McGowan completed a Game 1 double play by throwing a runner out at home.
The weekend series ends Sunday in Greensboro, and first pitch against the Aggies (1-5) has been pushed back an hour to 3 p.m.
App State scored in each of the first four innings in Game 1 on Saturday and Tyler Tuthill allowed only two runs on three hits in seven innings. Taking over with a 4-2 lead, Noah Hall pitched the final two innings and earned the save without allowing a hit.
Offensively, the Mountaineers pounded out 17 hits, including a 3-for-5 effort from Drumheller. Andrew Terrell, Phillip Cole, Andrew Greckel (two RBIs), Robbie Young, Alex Leshock and Bailey Welch had two hits apiece.
In Game 2, App State overcame a 5-0 deficit heading into the bottom of the fourth by scoring the next seven runs.
In a five-run bottom of the fourth, Drumheller’s two-out, bases-clearing double to bring home Leshock, Welch and Terrell cut the deficit to 5-4, and Drumheller scored on Cole’s RBI single in the next at-bat. The Mountaineers added two more runs in the fifth, taking the lead as Young scored on Welch’s bloop triple near the right-field line. Welch scored on Terrell’s RBI single for a 7-5 advantage.
Quinton Martinez pitched into the seventh inning and earned the win, retiring six straight hitters on a combined 16 pitches in the two innings after App State had tied the game at 5-all. Jason Cornatzer allowed one run in taking the game to the ninth, and left-hander Eli Ellington picked up his first save by striking out two in a perfect ninth.
After the Aggies’ run-scoring double in the eighth cut their deficit to 7-6, Cross hung onto a foul tip to give Cornatzer a big strikeout. An HBP on an 0-2 pitch to the next batter put two runners aboard, and a groundout to second ended that threat.
In the two games, North Carolina A&T hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning of Game 1 to pull within 3-2, a three-run homer to open Game 2 and a solo homer to push the lead to 4-0 in the fourth inning.