Highlanders Fall to the Mountaineers After Another Slow Start

2 min read The Highlanders entered the game looking to bounce back after getting swept in their last series with Gardner-Webb and snap their losing streak.

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By Davis Byrd | dbyrd16@radford.edu 

The Highlanders entered the game looking to bounce back after getting swept in their last series with Gardner-Webb and snap their losing streak.

The Highlanders kept up their trend of slow starts, giving up two runs from two hits in the top of the 1st after a Mountaineer freshman Bailey Welch found his way to third base before another freshman in Kendall McGowan launched a ball over the fence for a two-run home run off of starting pitcher Brandon Donovan.

Donovan did not appear to let the rough first inning in his first start as a Highlander get to him. The redshirt sophomore pitched three full innings of work and only surrendered one walk and hit one batter while also adding a strikeout to his stat line for the night.

The Highlanders were able to get some offense going by getting two men on base in the bottom of the second inning. Andrew Szamski knocked a single into the gap. Matt Roth came up to bat after a strikeout from freshman catcher Garrett Matheny. Roth took a pitch, and Szamski got his legs churning towards second base but was thrown out by the catcher. Roth was eventually walked in the at-bat.

Donovan eventually got the hook after the third and redshirt freshman right-hander Grayson Lamb entered the game in relief and got out to a mixed start walking the first batter he faced in Riley Smith before striking out C.J. Brown. App. St. senior Conner Leonard stepped into the batter’s box, and Smith was given the sign to steal second and successfully did so while Leonard was walked. The bases were loaded, and with only one out, Beau Myers hit a sacrifice fly to score another run before Alex Leshock hit a single to score another run before the inning finally came to an end.

The Highlanders would get a glimmer of hope in the bottom of the 4th inning. The Highlanders were making contact with many pitches to start the inning with sophomore Richard De La Cruz grounding out to the shortstop and Garett Matheny hitting a long fly out. Matt Roth stepped up and hit a bomb over the fence in left-center to bring the Highlanders back into the game.

The Highlanders brought in their second pitcher in the evening from the bullpen in an attempt to limit any further damage from the Mountaineer bats, this time it being freshman Cody Boone. Boone pitched two solid innings, only allowing one hit and no runs while also notching up two strikeouts.

The Highlanders would continue to battle to get back into the game but were held in check by excellent pitching performances from the Appalachian State pitching staff. Mountaineers starter Brandon Boone put in a significant shift, only allowing one run and pitching six full innings on the afternoon.

The Highlanders registered one more hit than the Mountaineers with eight for the game but just couldn’t translate that into runs that afternoon. The Highlanders next game is on April 11 in Charlottesville where they will take on the University of Virginia.

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Photo Credit: (Hailey Scherer-Photography Manager)