RALEIGH, N.C. – Appalachian State torched first-team All-American Carlos Rodon for three home runs and four pitchers combined to limit NC State to just four hits as the Mountaineers scorted a 6-3 victory against the No. 8-ranked Wolfpack in Friday’s season opener at Doak Field.
Freshman Jaylin Davis and juniors Noah Holmes and Preston Troutman all homered off Rodon to give Appalachian State a 5-0 advantage just three and a half innings into the game and pitchers Jamie Nunn, Taylor Thurber, Tyler Moore and Rob Marcello made the lead stand up in the Mountaineers’ fifth win against a nationally ranked team in the past calendar year.
Davis started the onslaught against Rodon by turning on the first pitch he faced as a collegiate batter and launching it high over the left-field wall for a two-out, three-run blast that gave Appalachian a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Holmes and Troutman followed with solo blasts in the second and fourth innings, respectively, that stretched the advantage to 5-0 in front of a stunned NC State season-opening record crowd of 2,396.
Appalachian’s three home runs off Rodon (0-1) in the first four innings of Friday’s contest surpassed the two that he surrendered in 114.2 innings last year, when the southpaw became the first NCAA Division I freshman ever to be named one of the three finalists for the Golden Spikes Award, which honors the United States’ top amateur baseball player.
While the Mountaineers’ offense was putting on its power display against Rodon, Nunn was silencing NC State’s bats. Nunn, a right-handed sophomore, retired the first nine Wolfpack batters that he faced and ran into his only real trouble in the bottom of the fourth inning when three Appalachian errors contributed to a two-run rally that cut the Mountaineers’ lead to 5-2. After avoiding any further damage by inducing an inning-ending double play in the fourth, Nunn would go on to work two more innings before leaving with the three-run lead still intact.
The Wolfpack also brought the tying run to the plate in the seventh and eighth innings but Thurber sat down three consecutive batters to end the threat in the seventh and Moore battled back from a 3-0 count to get an inning-ending strikeout in the eighth.
There was no drama in the ninth, however, as Marcello retired the side in order to easily record his first career save. Making his first relief appearance as a Mountaineer, the senior southpaw closed out the win by getting NC State’s Bryan Adametz to swing and miss at the game’s final pitch, drawing a huge roar from the large contingent of Appalachian State fans.
In all, the four Mountaineer pitchers combined to allow just two earned runs on four hits while striking out eight and walking only three. Nunn (1-0) led the way, surrendering just one earned run on three hits and fanning five in six innings.
Offensively, Davis added a ninth-inning double to go along with his first-inning homer and was the only Mountaineer with multiple hits.
Rodon, who had never surrendered more than three earned runs in 16 previous starts at NC State, was tagged for five runs on five hits in six innings and, despite striking out eight, suffered his first collegiate loss. After going 9-0 as a last season and 11-0 as a senior at nearby Holly Springs High School in 2011, Rodon suffered his first loss at any level since dropping a decision as a high-school junior on May 21, 2010.