With the victories, Appalachian came away from its first weekend of the season with a 2-1 record, going into next weekend’s challenging three-game set at No. 8 LSU.
Timely hitting paved the way to victory for the Mountaineers in Saturday’s first game, as each of their first six runs were scored by runners that reached base with two outs.
The two-out fiesta began in the fourth inning when Tyler Tewell singled, followed by double off the left-field wall by Jeremy Dowdy. Trey Holmes drove the duo in with a perfectly placed single into shallow left center field, giving the Mountaineers a 2-0 lead.
After Akron tied it at 2-2 in the bottom of the fourth, Zip starter Myles McVeigh cruised through the first two ASU batters of the top of the fifth before issuing three-straight walks to load the bases. With nowhere to put Daniel Kassouf, McVeigh tried to sneak a 1-2 fastball past ASU’s cleanup hitter but Kassouf walloped it to the right-center field gap for a three-run triple. The first triple of the 6-1, 230-pounder’s career gave Appalachian a commanding 5-2 lead.
The Mountaineers captured more two-out lightning in the sixth when Tyler Zupcic doubled with two away and Preston Troutman pulled a full-count pitch through the right side of the infield for an RBI single that stretched the ASU advantage to 6-2.
Appalachian would tack on two more runs with a solo home run to straightaway center field by Kassouf in the seventh and a sacrifice fly by Troutman in the eighth to cap the scoring.
Kassouf paced the Apps’ 10-hit effort by going 2-for-4 with a career-high four RBI. Holmes also had two hits while Troutman drove in two runs. Relief pitcher Tyler Moore overcame walking the first two batters he faced after entering the game in the fifth inning to allow just one run in 2.1 innings and earn the win.
In the nightcap, Appalachian rode a strong start by junior-college transfer Rob Marcello to the sweep. Making his first start in the Black and Gold since transferring from Florida’s Indian River State College, Marcello (1-0) shut the Zips out for five innings, allowing just two hits, striking out five and walking none.
True freshman Jeffrey Springs followed with a strong debut of his own, allowing just one hit and striking out three in two innings of work and Nathan Hyatt closed out the impressive pitching performance with a dominating ninth inning for his first-career save.
Sacrifice flies by Tewell and Will Callaway and an RBI double by Zack Briggs staked Appalachian to a 3-0 lead after six innings and after Akron scored its only run of the game to cut the deficit to 3-1 in the top of the eighth, Briggs tacked on an insurance run with an RBI groundout in the bottom of the frame.
Callaway (2-for-3) was the only Mountaineer with multiple hits in the nightcap.
Appalachian opens its series at LSU at venerable Alex Box Stadium in Baton Rouge, La. on Friday at 8 p.m. ET.