ASU (8-5) snapped a skid of four losses in five games by sweeping the twinbill from visiting LaSalle (4-7). With the victories, the Mountaineers also upped its all-time record in non-conference games at Smith Stadium to 28-5.
Thanks to sterling starts on the mound by Appalachian’s Ryan Arrowood and LaSalle’s Shane Petrellis, Tuesday’s opener was scoreless going into the bottom of the eighth inning. In the eighth, LaSalle made a pair of costly errors and the Mountaineers took advantage when senior Jack Myers laced a one-out single into right field, plating a pair of unearned runs for the only scoring of the game.
Arrowood, who did not figure into the decision, scattered five hits over seven scoreless innings to lower his ERA after three starts to a miniscule 0.49. Petrellis (0-1) was just as good, allowing just six hits in a complete-game effort but was saddled with his first loss of the year due to the unearned runs in the eighth.
Will Helms worked a scoreless eighth to earn the win and move to 1-0 while Taylor Miller struck out two in a perfect ninth to pick up his second save.
The shutout was Appalachian’s fourth of the young season, which is already almost halfway to the school record of nine, set in 1983. ASU notched just one shutout in all of 2010 and had only three over the past two seasons combined.
The Mountaineers broke out of a scoring slump with six runs in the nightcap, which was just one fewer than they plated in the previous four games combined. Third baseman Zack Briggs led the charge, going 2-for-3 with a triple, home run, three RBI and two runs scored.
Briggs provided what proved to be the winning runs when he extended ASU’s lead to 4-0 with a two-run homer to right field in the third inning. He added some insurance with an RBI triple in the fifth and closed out then scoring one batter later when he scored on Daniel Kassouf’s sacrifice fly to center field.
Shortstop Will Callaway also contributed to the nine-hit attack with a pair of triples and first baseman Trey Holmes added two hits and an RBI.
ASU received another fine start on the mound in the second game with freshman southpaw Chad Farmer (1-0) limiting the Explorers to three hits over four scoreless innings to earn his first collegiate win. David Port, who came into the game with the tying run on third base in the fifth, tossed 2.1 perfect innings to close out the game and pick up his first save of the campaign.
Appalachian continues a five-game homestand this weekend when it hosts a three-game Southern Conference series versus Elon. The set begins on Friday at 3 p.m. at Smith Stadium.