Ninth Inning Rally Falls Short as Gardner-Webb Drops Weekend Opener to Appalachian State, 5-4, Friday Night

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – Gardner-Webb scored three runs in the bottom of the third after back-to-back RBI doubles by Collin Thacker and Danny Sullivan, yet the Runnin' Bulldogs were unable to complete the comeback, falling to Appalachian State by a 5-4 score on Friday evening. 

GWU (2-4) had two runners on base as Thacker belted his first double of the season off of Appalachian State (2-3) reliever Matt Brill to right field with two outs.  Sullivan traded places with Thacker in the following at-bat, driving in the third run of the frame to pull within one run of extending the contest.  The rally would fall short as the game would end on a called third strike on Mickey Dugan in the next at-bat. 

The Mountaineers jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning after a two-run double by Chander Seagle.

Appalachian State would tack on another run in the top of the sixth inning after Drake Zupcic homered to left field, but the Diamond 'Dogs would respond in the bottom half of the frame as Sullivan would send the first pitch he saw over the centerfield fence to set the score at 4-1. 

It was the first home run of the season for Sullivan, who led GWU with nine homers in 2016, and the eleventh of the season for the team. 

The Mountaineers would score two more runs in the top of the ninth on a two-run single by Brian Bauk. 

Sullivan, who went 4-for-5 with two RBI and two extra base hits, led Gardner-Webb at the plate.  Also collecting multiple base knocks for the Diamond 'Dogs were Corey Howard (2-for-5) and Mason Fox (2-for-4). 

Appalachian State had multiple hits from Matt Vernon (2-for-5), Bauk (2-for-5, 2 RBI), and Jason Curtis (2-for-4).

Travis Holden earned the win for the Mountaineers, tossing 5.2 innings with one allowed run and four strikeouts.  Reed Howell was effective in 2.1 innings of work from the bullpen, allowing no hits while fanning three batters.  Brill wrapped up the game for App State in the ninth, allowing three runs while recording all three outs by strikeout.

Wil Sellers was saddled with the loss for Gardner-Webb, hurling 6.0 innings with five strikeouts, while allowing three runs.  Patrick Morton and Isaac Campbell each worked an inning, with neither allowing a base hit or run.  Taylor Goodwin worked the ninth innings, allowing two runs with two strikeouts.

The two teams will square off again Saturday afternoon at 2:00 pm from John Henry Moss Stadium.  The contest will be broadcast live on the Big South Network (www.bigsouthsports.com).

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