CHARLESTON — Greg Beals probably wishes C.J. Boyd had stayed at East Carolina.
Boyd, a transfer from ECU, went 4 for 4 with a home run, two doubles, a single and five runs batted in Saturday to lead Appalachian State past Beals’ Marshall team 9-8 in Sun Belt Conference baseball at GoMart Park.
The sophomore from Lewisville, North Carolina, also homered against the Herd Friday in a 12-4 victory.
The Thundering Herd (8-8 overall, 0-2 Sun Belt) was in position to tie or win in the ninth inning, loading the bases with one out, but freshman Jackson Steensma struck out Cam Harthman on three pitches, then coaxed Christian Lucio to pop out to shortstop to end the game. The final out was adventuresome, as Alex Aguila reached back to his left and tumbled to the ground to make the catch.
Marshall pitchers victimized themselves with seven walks and two hit batters. Drew Harlow took the loss in relief of Raymond Pacella. The junior righthander gave up a bases-loaded double to Boyd in the seventh.
“Three of those ended up crossing home plate on us,” said Beals, in his first season as coach of the Herd. “Drew Harlow’s been so good all year long. We were in a position where he had the ball with a lead and it just didn’t work out today. That’s baseball. I’m going to give Drew Harlow the ball again in that situation for sure.”
Beals wasn’t happy with the loss, but was pleased with his team’s play.
“We did a lot of good things,” Beals said. “We played with a lot of good energy and kept competing. We took the lead. We got down in their big inning and got back into it. We had guys in scoring position in the last two innings and just didn’t get that hit.”
The Mountaineers’ big inning was the seventh. Marshall led 6-5, thanks to a three-run homer by Owen Ayers in the fifth. Appalachian State, though, loaded the bases and Boyd cleared them with a double. Hunter Wilder scored on an error later in the inning.
Boyd wasn’t perfect. Herd catcher Kyle Schaefer caught him stealing twice. The standout left fielder, who made a run-saving diving catch in the third inning, received plenty of help. Colton Gillespie homered and knocked in two runs. Austin St. Laurent scored twice.
Marshall’s bright spot was Luke Edwards, who broke Victor Gomez’s program record for doubles, smacking the 49th of his career in the fifth inning. Edwards went 3 for 4 and scored three runs. Ayers was 3 for 4 with four RBI. Schaefer was 2 for 5with two RBI. Elijah Voglesong-Lewis went 2 for 4 and scored twice.
The teams meet again at 1 p.m. Sunday at GoMart Park.
APPALACHIAN STATE 010 211 400 — 9 9 0
MARSHALL 101 130 200 — 8 9 1
Wilson, Cross (5), Steenham (7) and H. Cross; Pacella, Harlow (5), Agemy (8), Capuano (9) and Schaefer. W — Cross. L — Harlow. S — Steenham.
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