Appalachian (12-13) outhit Wake Forest, 8-6, but free passes led directly to four runs for the Demon Deacons (9-15), including two that came across on back-to-back bases-loaded walks in the second inning.
With seven of the nine walks issued by ASU pitchers coming in the first four innings, Wake jumped out to a 6-0 lead. The Mountaineers got on the board with a sacrifice fly by Hector Crespo in the seventh and brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth when it loaded the bases following an RBI double by Preston Troutman. However, for the second time on the evening, Appalachian struck out looking with the bases full to end the threat and the ballgame.
Miscues were abundant for ASU in the loss. In addition to walking nine batters from a club that came into game hitting just .222 as a team, the Mountaineers hit a batter, committed two errors and botched a rundown to allow Wake Forest to extend its three-run second inning. Appalachian also left eight men on base, including five in scoring position.
On a positive note, Appalachian received strong performances from three relatively untested relief pitchers to help it climb back into the ballgame. Tyler Moore, Ryne Frankoff and Adam Camara combined to limit the Deacs to no runs on one hit over the final 4.1 innings of the game. Making only his second appearance in over two years, Moore was particularly impressive, striking out three over 2.1 no-hit innings out of the bullpen.
Offensively, Troutman, Zack Briggs and Daniel Kassouf each went 2-for-4 to pace the Mountaineers in front of a crowd of 966 at the home of the Hickory Crawdads, a single-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers.
Appalachian returns home for four-straight games, beginning on Wednesday night when it hosts Gardner-Webb at 6 p.m. at Beaver Field at Jim and Bettie Smith Stadium.