BOONE, N.C. (4/30/17) – Peyton Culbertson and Tyler Mitzel combined to hold the App State offense to one run, while A-State scored its first two runs with two outs in a 4-1 victory over the Mountaineers in the series finale at Jim and Bettie Smith Stadium in Boone, N.C., Sunday afternoon.
The win gave the Red Wolves (22-21, 10-11 SBC) a series win over Appalachian State (18-26, 7-14 SBC) and its second conference road series win of the season.
Culbertson improved to 4-5 on the year after allowing one run (earned) on five hits with five strikeouts and on walk in six innings. The quality start gave Culbertson a team-best three on the season. Mitzel tossed the final three innings to register his first career save. The Sioux Falls, S.D., native walked two and struck out three without giving up a hit.
Both teams struggled to get base runners early on, but Jake Bakamus tripled to center field with one out in the top of the fifth to represent A-State’s first scoring threat. However, Drew Tipton struck out for the second out of the inning before Derek Birginske hit a ground ball up-the-middle to score Bakamus and put the Red Wolves on top 1-0. Birginske advanced to second base on a wild pitch before a single by Grant Hawkins plated him for the second run of the frame.
Appalachian State scored its only run of the contest when Jared McCarver swatted a home run to left field to begin the bottom half of the fifth inning. Arkansas State wasted little time responding with Justin Felix leading off the sixth with a single and Garrett Rucker bunting for a base hit to set up a successful sacrifice bunt by Jeremy Brown. Alex Howard stepped to the plate and lined a single to left field to score both runs and put A-State in front 4-1.
The 4-1 score would prove to be the final after Mitzel nailed down the save in his third inning of work in the bottom of the ninth. The right-handed reliever walked the lead-off hitter before two strikeouts and a fly out to Rucker in center field ended the game.
The Red Wolves out hit the Mountaineers 9-5 with Joe Schrimpf recording two hits to lead the way as no other player tallied more than one on the afternoon. App State starter Luke Watts took the loss after allowing four runs (all earned) on seven hits in 5.1 innings. Watts retired the first 10 A-State hitters of the game before the Red Wolves were able to string together some hits.
Arkansas State returns to action May 5-7 against UT Arlington in Jonesboro. First pitch for Friday’s game from Tomlinson Stadium/Kell Field against the Mavericks is set for 6:30 p.m. Saturday’s game will also feature a start time of 6:30 p.m., before Sunday’s series finale will begin at 1 p.m.