April 18, 2009

Courtesy of Appalachian state

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. – Rand Smith’s (Bolivia, N.C./South Brunswick) single with two outs in the top of the seventh inning gave him a school-record 26-game hitting streak and sparked a late rally that gave Appalachian State University baseball a 7-3 win over College of Charleston on Saturday afternoon at Patriots Point Park.

Smith’s line-drive single to left center field came in his fourth at-bat of the day and broke the 21-year-old ASU record of 25-consecutive games with a base hit, set by Tommy Green in 1988. The record-breaking hit, which brought a standing ovation from the Mountaineer faithful in attendance, also began a comeback for Appalachian (20-17, 9-12 SoCon), which trailed 3-2 at the time.

Wes Hobson (Winston-Salem, N.C./North Forsyth) followed Smith’s single with a double to right field and Smith scored the tying run on the play when Charleston right fielder Clay McCord misplayed the ball.

ASU’s next batter, Isaac Harrow (Hickory, N.C./Hickory), gave the Mountaineers their first lead of the afternoon when he drilled a double off the center field wall that brought Hobson home with the go-ahead run.

Appalachian ended any doubt when it plated three insurance runs in the top of the ninth to stretch the advantage to 7-3. Hobson and Harrow notched back-to-back triples to right center field to highlight the three-run ninth.

As has become the norm, the ASU relief trio of Nick Daniels (Concord, N.C./Northwest Cabarrus), Chris Patterson (Laurinburg, N.C./Scotland County) and Zach Quate (Raleigh, N.C./Wakefield) made the late-inning rally possible, as they combined to close out the ballgame with four scoreless innings. Patterson earned his team-leading fourth win of the season with 1.2 shutout innings and Quate struck out three in two perfect innings for his eighth save of the year.

Quate’s eight saves are tied with Matt Wood, who saved eight games for the Mountaineers in 2001 and 2002, for the most in Appalachian single-season history.

In all, Appalachian limited CofC’s high-powered offense to six hits. McCord and Cole Rekar had two hits apiece to lead Charleston (23-14, 11-9 SoCon).

ASU banged out nine hits, five of which went for extra bases. Harrow led the way with a 3-for-4 performance that included two RBI and two runs scored.

The Mountaineers’ 14th win in their last 17 ballgames snapped a string of 16-consecutive regular-season losses to perennial Southern Conference-power College of Charleston. ASU had not defeated the Cougars in the regular season since 2003.

The clubs will play the rubber game of the three-game SoCon series on Sunday at 1 p.m.