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Appalachian State in town for three

Appalachian State in town for three

Appalachian State in town for three


    Appalachian State would sure like to turn around its baseball season after a disastrous start to the program’s last year in the Southern Conference before joining the Sun Belt.
    The Mountaineers closed out the SoCon era with a 4-8 football season and a 9-21 men’s basketball season that resulted in the firing of head coach Jason Capel.
    Two of the few rays of sunlight in football and basketball for ASU were wins against Georgia Southern, which is also joining the Sun Belt next season, and the baseball Mountaineers (5-14), have a chance to repeat the program’s success against the Eagles.
    Appalachian visits J.I. Clements Stadium to face GSU (17-5, 1-2 SoCon) in a three-game series beginning Friday at 6 p.m.
    Georgia Southern coach Rodney Hennon isn’t fooled by Appalachian’s record. The Mountaineers have lost to the likes of Clemson, N.C. State, Arkansas and Notre Dame, and picked up wins against Michigan and Kent State along the way.
    “I think they’ve probably played the toughest schedule of anybody in our league up to this point,” Hennon said about ASU. “Their record, I think, doesn't indicate how good their baseball team is.”
    Appalachian State, when it’s had success, has had it on the mound. Three starting pitchers have a sub-3 earned-run average.
    The bats have been quiet for ASU, with a .210 team batting average and nobody is hitting above .300.
    Compare that with the Eagles, who have eight players, including six starters, all batting north of .300.
    The Mountaineers average roughly four runs per game, while GSU scores nearly nine. The Eagles have more extra-base hits (81) than the Mountaineers have runs scored (77).
    Still, it’s been the close ones that have given the Eagles fits, as three of their five losses have been one-run ballgames.
    “You’re not going to put up eight or 10 runs every day, and we understand that,” Hennon said. “Especially in those weekend games and the league games, it’s all about the little things. When you do the little things from an offensive standpoint, it leads to bigger things throughout the course of the game.”
    It will be the first SoCon series of the season for ASU, which only adds to the motivation of playing against GSU, which leads the all-time series 55-18.
    “It’s always been a rivalry in any sport when Georgia Southern and App State get together,” Hennon said. “I think it’s good for both schools that it’s going to continue when both schools move into the Sun Belt.”
    Will things change in the rivalry now that both programs know their future is going to be together in the Sun Belt?
    “It’s just going to be like it’s always been,” Hennon said.

    Matt Yogus may be reached at (912) 489-4908.

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