> ASU Plates Three in the Ninth to Down The Citadel, 4-1 - Appalachian State Mountaineers | Official Athletics Site
What's this?   |   Forgot Password?   |   Sign Up
New appstatesports.com
ASU Plates Three in the Ninth to Down The Citadel, 4-1
Courtesy: Appalachian State Sports Information
Release: Wednesday 05/20/2009 (ET)
Courtesy: SoCon Photos
Starting pitcher Aubrey Edens is congratulated by teammates after leaving the game in the seventh inning of Wednesday's 4-1 win over The Citadel.

GREENVILLE, S.C. - Appalachian State University baseball broke a 1-1 tie with three runs in the top of the ninth inning and went on to defeat The Citadel, 4-1, on Wednesday afternoon in the opening round of the 2009 Southern Conference Baseball Championship at Fluor Field.

With the victory, sixth-seeded Appalachian (33-19) advances to play No. 2-seeded Georgia Southern (39-15) in a winners’-bracket matchup on Thursday at 5 p.m. Third-seeded The Citadel (34-21) faces an elimination game versus No. 7 Davidson on Thursday at 9 a.m.

Wednesday’s opening-round thriller featured a classic pitchers’ duel between Appalachian’s Aubrey Edens and SoCon Pitcher of the Year Wes Wrenn from The Citadel. The aces each surrendered single runs in the first inning but hung nothing but zeros on the scoreboard over the next seven frames to send the contest into the ninth still knotted at 1-1.    

The Bulldogs opened the door for the Mountaineers in the top of the ninth when second baseman Bryan Altman committed a throwing error that allowed pinch-hitter Chris Trappy to reach base with one out. Freshman catcher Jeremy Dowdy followed by ripping an 0-1 offering from Wrenn into the left-field corner for a double that gave the Apps runners on second and third with only one away.

Wrenn was lifted from the ballgame following the Dowdy double in favor of second-team all-conference reliever Drew Mahaffey. However, Mahaffey wasn’t able to preserve the tie ballgame, as the first batter he faced — ASU designated hitter Jerod Faggart — ripped a ball up the middle that Altman was able to field, but his only play was to first and pinch-runner Jason Wallace came home with the go-ahead run.

Appalachian gained some breathing room when Rand Smith followed Faggart’s RBI groundout with a run-scoring single to left field and Wes Hobson added an RBI double to the gap in left-center to take a 4-1 lead.

That would be more than enough cushion for first-team all-conference closer Zach Quate, who struck out the side on 10 pitches in the bottom of the ninth to secure ASU’s first opening-round win at the SoCon Tournament since 2001 (excluding the 2006 “play-in” win over Davidson).

Despite the ninth-inning heroics, the story of the game was Edens. The right-handed senior worked into the seventh inning, allowing only the first-inning run, while scattering six hits and striking out five. He threw 108 pitches before giving way to Chris Patterson, who worked the Apps out of a jam by striking out the first two batters he faced in the seventh.

After the Mountaineers squandered a chance to jump all over Wrenn early by leaving the bases loaded after plating a run with nobody out in the top of the first, the SoCon Pitcher of the Year settled in to stymie the Apps for much of the afternoon. Wrenn did not surrender a hit between the fourth and eighth innings and two of the three runs he allowed were unearned thanks to Altman’s error in the ninth. Nevertheless, he suffered the loss to fall to 9-3 on the season, with two of his three setbacks coming at the hands of the Mountaineers.

Smith paced ASU’s eight-hit effort by going 3-for-5 with two runs scored. The center fielder also chipped in defensively with a diving catch that, combined with a equally stellar play by shortstop Nick DeRose, kept at least two runs off the scoreboard for The Citadel in the fourth inning.

Should Appalachian knock off Georgia Southern on Thursday, it would be off until Saturday, when it would need to win just one of two games against whichever team comes out of the losers’ bracket on the opposite side of the draw to advance to Sunday’s championship game. If ASU falls to GSU, it must battle its way through the losers’ bracket beginning on Friday at 3 p.m.

< Back