College World Series: Appalachian State 6, Virginia 5
Staff & wire reports
CHARLOTTESVILLE — The 7-8-9 hitters in the Appalachian State lineup combined for six hits and three runs in the Mountaineers’ 6-5 College World Series victory against regional host Virginia on Sunday afternoon.
Former East Rowan stars, one and all.
Trey Holmes went 3-for-4, Preston Troutman 2-for-4 and Noah Holmes 1-for-3 as Appalachian State did all of its damage in the first two innings. A six-run second was too much for the Cavaliers to overcome.
Appalachian State (41-16) has now beaten teams from two power conferences, Oklahoma and Virginia
“I think a lot of people thought that we’d come up here and just be happy being here,” said App coach Chris Pollard. “We came up here and played our brand of baseball and stayed aggressive. If we stay aggressive offensively and defensively, we have a pretty good chance to win games.”
Third-seeded Appalachian advances to today’s regional championship round. The Mountaineers play the winner of Sunday night’s losers’ bracket contest between top-seeded Virginia (39-18-1) and No. 2-seed Oklahoma (39-23) today at 4 p.m. If Appalachian loses, it will play a second game against the same opponent immediately after. Whoever prevails will advance to the Super Regional round at No. 8 national seed South Carolina (41-17), the winner of this weekend’s Columbia Regional.
The Rowan Connection was huge in the six-run second.
Trey Holmes singled up the middle and moved to third on Troutman’s single. He scored on a thorwing error. Noah Holmes then knocked in Troutman. Former North Davidson star Daniel Kassouf had two RBIs as well.
It helped starter Seth Grant (7-3) go six strong innings.
“I thought Seth Grant did a great job coming here and grinding away,” said Pollard, the former Pfeiffer coach. “He went out there most of the day with just a fastball and pounded away to get it done.”
After taking the lead, Appalachian certainly didn’t play its sharpest baseball of the season but made enough plays to never relinquish the advantage. The Mountaineers committed four errors, issued four walks and hit two batters, were called for two run-scoring balks and had a base-running blunder that likely cost them a run. However, they also banged out 11 hits against a Virginia pitching staff that ranked 18th nationally with 8.01 hits allowed per nine innings this season and forced the Cavaliers to leave 12 men on base, including seven in scoring position.
Appalachian was particularly clutch after Virginia sliced the lead to 6-5 in the seventh inning, as the Mountaineers forced UVa to strand runners over the final three innings, four of which were left in scoring position.
“Appalachian State played very well today,” said Virginia coach Brian O-Connor. “They hit in the clutch early in the game. They were very, very aggressive and took the fight to us and got us back on our heels. We just didn’t have enough to get a couple more clutch hits and do what it takes to beat a good ball club like they have.”
NOTES: Appalachian set a new school record with its 41st win of the season. … The win over No. 15 Virginia was Appalachian’s fourth of the season over a nationally ranked team. … Pollard was ejected but by NCAA rule, he can coach tomorrow’s 4 p.m. game. However, Appalachian is awaiting final word on how the Southern Conference’s unique ejection and suspension rules will ultimately apply in this case.
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