May 23, 2004
Boone, N.C. - Appalachian State scored five runs in the bottom of the eighth to seal an 18-11 victory over Western Carolina Sunday afternoon in the teams' 2004 regular-season finale. The Mountaineers improve to 10-43, 6-24 in the Southern Conference in what was ASU head coach Troy Heustess' final game as head coach as he resigned last week. Depsite the loss, dropping the Cats to 25-29 overall and 12-18, Western had secured a spot in the SoCon Tournament and will face top-seed College of Charleston in the first round at 1 pm on Wednesday.
Western got on the scoreboard first, scoring three runs on four hits in the top of the first. With one out, Todd Roper singled and, two batters later, scored on an RBI double by Jared Greenwood. After a balk, Brian Sigmon followed with a an RBI single to center, driving in Greenwood. Mike McGowan then plated Sigmon with a double off the center field fence.
The Mountaineers answered with five runs in the bottom of the first. Joe Norton had a leadoff single and Joey Robinson followed with an RBI triple down the right field line. Brad Peisel found a hole through left side of the infield for an RBI single. Two batters later, Kevin Butler single to put runners on first and second. After a pop out, Peisel and Butler each moved up 90 feet thanks to a throwing error on a failed pick off attempt. Designated hitter Taylor Craig drove in Peisel and Butler with a single. On the play, Craig was able to move up to second on an attempted play at the play. After Chris Baker was hit by a pitch, Jimmy Mathias singled to plate Craig.
In the top of the second, the Apps padded their advantage to 6-3, when Justin Lee lifted a pitch over the left field fence for his fifth home run of the season.
Western regained the advantage (7-6), scoring four runs in the top of the third. Roper was walked and Davis was hit by a pitch, marking the 17th time Davis has done so for a Western Carolina single-season record. Davis was retired on a fielder's choice, allowing Greenwood to reach first and Roper to advance to third. Sigmon looped a double down the right field line, scoring Roper and moving Greenwood to third. Two batters later, Denver Edick tied the game at 6-6 with a two-run single to left. Edick moved to second on a walk to Clint Ramsey and scored on a Dustin Penland single.
In the home half of the third, Appalachian State went back on top, scoring three runs and making the score 9-7. Craig had a leadoff single and scored on a Baker home run to left-center field, Baker's second blast of the season. Ramsey, who came in to pitch after the home run, walked Mathais. Norton followed with a hit to right with a bad hop allowing Mathais to score and giving Norton a triple.
The Cats cut their deficit to one (9-8) in the top of the fourth. Davis came through with a two-out double and scored on a single to right by Greenwood. Western then tied the game at 9-9 in the top of the fifth. Mike McGowan started the frame with a solo home run down the right field line for his third blast of the season.
The back and forth game continued in the bottom of the fifth as ASU took a X-9 lead. After a leadoff walk to Mathais, Robins delivered a one-out double to put runners on second and third. Peisel followed with a single to right, scoring Mathais and moving Robinson to third. The Mountaineers loaded the bases with a walk to Lee. Butler delivered a two-run single, making the score 12-9 and putting runners on second and third.
After a strikeout in the bottom of the fifth, heavy rains forced the third rain delay of the three-game series. McGowan, who was playing right, came to the mound after the 1:58 rain delay and struck out Craig to end the inning.
In the top of the seventh, the Cats cut their deficit to one (12-11) with two runs. McGowan had a leadoff single, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on an RBI double by Edick. Edick moved over to third on a Ramsey fly out and scored with Penland at the plate on a wild pitch. However, in the bottom of the seventh, leadoff hitter Lee launched the first pitch he saw over the left field fence, his second blast of the day and sixth of the season. The homer gave the Apps a 13-11 advantage.
Appalachian State expanded their lead to 18-11 in the bottom of the eighth. Norton had a leadoff single, but was erased on a fielder's choice. From that point, Peisel singled and Lee was intentionally walked to load the bases. Butler delivered a two-run double. A David Clutter sac fly plated Lee. Craig followed with an RBI single and Baker capped the five-run inning with a double off the left-center field fence.
App State starting pitcher Scott Clark got the win, improving to 5-8 on the season. He allowed 11 hits and nine run with three walks and three strikeouts in 5.0 innings. Norton, who started the game in left field, came on to earn his first save of the season, allowing just two hits and a walk with three K's over the final 2.2 innings.
Ramsey (1-2) suffered the loss, giving up four runs, four hits and four walks with four strikeouts. Leading the way offensively for WCU were Greenwood, McGowan and Edick, who each had three hits. Edick added three RBI with Greenwood, Sigmon and McGowan driving in two each.
Western Carolina will return to action Wednesday (May 26) in the first round of the 2004 Southern Conference Baseball Championship. Entering as the eighth seed, the Catamounts will face the College of Charleston at Charleston's Riley Park with first pitch set for 1 pm.