High-scoring second and fourth innings in support of Noah Hall, who was sharp in his first career start, carried App State to a 12-2 victory that capped a three-game Sun Belt Conference sweep of Arkansas State to open league play.
Sunday’s series finale ended after seven innings because of the 10-run rule.
App State (10-8) improved its Sun Belt record to 3-0 for the first time after scoring five runs in the second inning and moving ahead 11-0 with a six-run fourth. Hall earned the win by striking out eight batters and allowing one run on three hits in five innings.
Offensively, Luke Drumheller went 4-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs scored batting directly behind leadoff hitter Peyton Idol, who was 2-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs scored.
Andrew Terrell added two RBIs and two runs scored while making a start at a sixth different position in the first 18 games. Robbie Young and Bailey Welch also had two hits and scored twice, while Hayden Cross’ RBI double got the scoring started.
Hall pitched two innings Friday to pick up his second save before improving to 3-0 this season by holding Arkansas State (3-12, 0-3) scoreless for the first four innings. A sophomore, all nine of his 2021 appearances and all 19 of his career appearances before Sunday had come out of the bullpen, although he had pitched as many as four innings in one appearance earlier this season and gone at least two innings in 14 of his first 19 appearances.
Hall retired 12 of the 15 batters he faced in the first four innings Sunday and threw 34 of his 46 pitches for strikes in that stretch. He needed just 60 pitches to get through five innings, when the Red Wolves hit a solo homer, and Jason Cornatzer struck out two batters in a perfect sixth inning. Andrew Papp pitched the seventh.
App State used just six pitchers all weekend, as Tyler Tuthill threw seven innings Friday before giving way to Hall and Quinton Martinez completed eight innings Saturday before giving way to Eli Ellington for the ninth.
The Mountaineers improved to 7-0 at home this season and 9-0 on Beaver Field at Jim and Bettie Smith Stadium since new turf was installed before the 2020 season.
App State jumped ahead when Young scored on Cross’ double down the right-field line, and a two-run single from Idol brought home Cross and Terrell. Drumheller then hit a two-run double to score Welch and Idol.
In the fourth, Terrell scored on a double to center from Idol, and Welch raced home on a high chopper toward the third-base side of the mound from Drumheller. The Mountaineers added to their lead on a run-scoring wild pitch, Kendall McGowan’s sacrifice fly and Terrell’s two-run single that sent home Young and Trent Lewis. Lewis added an RBI single in the fifth inning.
App State plays its next nine games away from home, starting with a Tuesday matchup against Charlotte in Kannapolis.