Mountaineers Climb Past Terps 9-7, Force Rubber Game Sunday

by: Matt Present

After mustering just four hits Friday afternoon, the bats erupted for Appalachian State (4-4) Saturday, as they totaled 15 hits, and chased Maryland (6-2) starter Tayler Stiles after just 3 1/3 innings on their way to a 9-7 victory.

First baseman Conner Leonard led the offensive attack for the Mountaineers, going three for five including two doubles and five RBI. Designated hitter Grayson Atwood added four hits of his own and scored two runs.

The scoring started from the get-go, as Stiles allowed four hits in the first, including three bloop singles, which plated one, but Anthony Papio gunned down Atwood at the plate to limit the damage. The Terps were unable to minimize harm in subsequent innings, as Stiles allowed a Leonard double to clear the bases with two outs in the third.

Stiles allowed a Brandon Burris home run with one out in the fourth, and then after allowing a single to Michael Pierson, the Terrapin starter was lifted for Bobby Ruse. The usually reliable long-man proceeded to allow four hits, compounded by two Terps errors, including an errant Ruse pickoff attempt, and the Mountaineer lead swelled to 9-3.

Meanwhile, freshman Travis Holden, making his first career start, pitched well enough to keep his team in the game. He pitched four plus innings, allowing five runs, four earned on six hits, but did retire seven straight at one point. The Terps knocked Holden from the game in the fifth when Jose Cuas lined a double down the left field line to drive in Brandon Lowe and LaMonte Wade, who singled and walked respectively.

Ryan Selmer did his job to keep the Terps in the game out of the bullpen, allowing just one hit and one walk over four scoreless innings. But the Terps were unable to sustain a rally. His bullpen counterpart Ryan Ross allowed two run on two hits over four plus innings and got the win for the Mountaineers.

One run came in the sixth, when Justin Morris notched his first RBI as a Terp with a triple down the right field line to drive in Kevin Smith. The second run came in the bottom of the ninth when the Terps got runners at the corners after Lowe led off the inning by getting hit by a pitch and then Wade singled. The Mountaineers then summoned Taylor Thurber from their bulpen, who allowed a Cuas RBI groundout, but then sealed the victory for Appalachian State.

The Terps will send freshman Brian Shaffer to the hill tomorrow in the rubber game of the three game series. Terps Pre-Game Live gets underway at 10:45 a.m.

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