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Austin St Laurent
Austin St Laurent went two-for-four batting with a run scored and three RBI.
photo courtesy of Appalachian State Athletics

Appalachian State Baseball Wins in Hickory Over Siena

App State Baseball used a pair of five-run frames to pull away after facing a brief middle-innings deficit against Siena on Friday, as the Mountaineers won 15-7 while officially making their 2024 home debut at L.P. Frans Stadium, home of the minor league Hickory Crawdads.

Austin St. Laurent went 3-for-6 with five RBIs thanks to a run-scoring triple and a pair of two-run homers in his first four at-bats. CJ Boyd also homered in a four-RBI performance to give the Mountaineers (4-1) four players with multi-hit games.

Cody Little (1-0) earned the win by providing valuable relief work on the mound. He recorded 10 outs through his first 10 batters faced as App State went from behind 6-5 with two away in the fourth inning to ahead 15-6 entering the eighth. He had two strikeouts apiece in clean sixth and seventh innings before finishing with one run allowed in 3.2 innings.

Ryan Sleeper closed out the eighth inning, and Cy Smith had two strikeouts in a scoreless ninth while making his first mound appearance in 647 days. Returning from a lengthy injury-related absence, just like Tyler Tuthill did in relief earlier this week, Smith struck out the first batter he faced with a large crowd of family and friends in attendance from his nearby hometown of Lenoir.

A fourth-inning grand slam from Tyler Figueroa with two away gave the Saints (0-4) a 6-5 lead, but St. Laurent’s two-run homer in the fifth inning was part of a five-run outburst that produced a 10-6 advantage.

Behind by one run entering the bottom of the fifth, Hunter Wilder scored the tying run by being hit with a pitch, stealing second and racing home on Graham Smiley’s RBI single — his first hit as a Mountaineer. After Joseph Zamora was plunked and both runners advanced on a wild pitch, Boyd broke the tie with a two-run single to center. Shortly thereafter, St. Laurent doubled App State’s lead with his second two-run homer.

Two innings later, Boyd got into the act with a solo homer to left to begin another five-run frame. A walk, hit by pitch and walk loaded the bases with one out for Adam Quintero, who singled off the pitcher’s foot for a 12-6 lead. Wilder then delivered a two-run single to left.

App State led 4-0 after two innings with help from St. Laurent’s run-scoring triple in the first inning and two-run homer down the left-field line in the second inning.

St. Laurent followed Boyd’s leadoff walk in the first with an extra-base hit over the center fielder’s head, and he scored moments later on an RBI single from Banks Tolley.

A one-out single from Zamora in the second inning meant a runner was on base when St. Laurent pulled a ball down the line with two away.

Siena cut its deficit in half thanks to an RBI triple past a diving outfielder and a sacrifice fly in the top of the third inning, but the Mountaineers answered back when Quintero followed Drew Holderbach’s one-out double with an RBI single up the middle.

Siena loaded the bases against Bradley Wilson with one out in the fourth, and he produced the second out on a strikeout with a 5-2 lead, but Figueroa’s opposite-field grand slam to right triggered a pitching change.

Little, Sleeper and Smith combined for two hits allowed and seven strikeouts over the final 5.1 innings.

The 2024 baseball season is presented by Chick-fil-A. Game 2 of the series is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Saturday, with Jackson Steensma the probable starter on the mound for App State.