Conner Leonard's five RBI lead Appalachian State past No. 18 Maryland
EMERSON, Ga. -- Freshman Conner Leonard drove in five runs and junior Grayson Atwood had four hits to lead Appalachian State to a 9-7 victory against No. 18 Maryland on Saturday afternoon at LakePoint Complex.
The victory was Appalachian State’s first over a top 25 team since it beat No. 8 NC State 6-3 in the 2013 season opener but is the Mountaineers’ 12th win against a power-conference opponent since 2012.
After falling behind 3-1 in the first inning, Appalachian State (4-4) took the lead for good on Leonard’s two-out, three-run double in the top of the third.
An inning later, Leonard delivered another huge two-out hit, this time doubling in two runs to cap a five-run stanza and give the Mountaineers a commanding 9-3 advantage. Brandon Burris homered and Atwood had an RBI single to go along with Leonard’s two-run double in the fourth.
Maryland (6-2) scratched its way back into the game with two runs in the fifth inning and another in the sixth to cut App State’s lead to 9-6.
The score remained 9-6 until the bottom of the ninth when the Terps led off with a hit batter and a single to bring the tying run to the plate with no outs. However, Appalachian State senior Taylor Thurber came on and, despite allowing an inherited runner to score, retired all three batters that he faced to seal the victory.
Atwood (4-for-5) and Leonard (3-for-5) paced a season-best 15-hit attack for Appalachian. Michael Pierson and Dillon Dobson added two hits apiece. Pierson reached base and scored three times, extending his streak of consecutive games reaching base to 38. Coming into the weekend, he was tied for the third-longest on-base streak in the nation.
Freshman southpaw Ryan Ross allowed only two hits in four innings of relief to earn his second win of the young season while Thurber picked up his first save of the campaign.