App State sports roundup

Staff report

App State basketball falls, 87-74

MOBILE, Ala. –– Despite a six-point halftime lead, Appalachian State University men’s basketball fell to a hot-shooting second half South Alabama team by a final score of 87-74 on Saturday night inside the Mitchell Center.

The Mountaineers (8-17, 3-11 Sun Belt) were led by Craig Hinton (Winston-Salem, N.C./East Forsyth/VMI) who turned in a career-high 13 points on 4-for-7 shooting from the field, including 3-for-6 from beyond the arc.

Five Mountaineers finished in double-figures and were led by Hinton and Ronshad Shabazz’s (Raleigh, N.C./Huntington Prep (W.V.)) 13 points. Griffin Kinney (Delaware, Ohio/Fork Union Military Academy) notched 12, while Isaac Johnson (Charlotte, N.C./Providence Day) scored 11 and Bennett Holley (Roanoke, Va./North Cross) tallied 10.

I. Johnson led the Mountaineers with eight rebounds and three steals. Kinney finished with seven boards.

App State opened the game hitting its first six shots and led by as many as 10 points in the first half following a Hinton three to put the Black and Gold up 22-12 at the 10:50 mark.

At the 6:16 mark, the Jaguars (13-13, 6-7 Sun Belt) closed to within just three points at 25-22, but Appalachian outscored South Alabama 11-8 to finish the half and take a 36-30 lead into the locker room.

South Alabama opened the second half on a 9-0 run before a 3-pointer from I. Johnson knotted the score up at 39-39 with 15:14 left in the second period. After tying the game, App State surrendered back-to-back threes which forced the Mountaineers into their first timeout of the half.

That six-point cushion would close to as little as one point following a Holley triple to cut the Jaguar lead to 51-50. Over the next 4:24 of the half, the Jaguars would grow its lead to a game-high 10 points, 65-55, with 6:23 left.

The Mountaineers would scrap their way back into the game and trailed by just five with 3:32 left after a free throw from Jake Babic (Oakville, Ontario/The Kiski School).

Unfortunately, when the Mountaineers needed a stop, the App State defense nearly forced a shot clock violation but the Jaguars’ Ken Williams hit a fadeaway dagger three at the end of the shot clock to put the Jags back up by eight.

The Apps would be forced to foul down the stretch to try and stop the clock and get back into it, but the Jaguars hit 19-of-24 free throws in the second half to help seal the victory.

Ken Williams led the Jaguars with 20 points, while three others finished in double-figures.

Hampton pitches baseball past VMI

WILMINGTON – Sophomore Bobby Hampton threw a gem in a career night, helping Appalachian State University baseball down VMI in the second matchup this weekend, 3-1, on Saturday night and get head coach Kermit Smith his first win at the helm of the program.

The Mountaineers’ (1-2) southpaw tied a career-high by pitching seven shutout innings and set a new career record by striking out nine batters on the night. Hampton is the first Appalachian pitcher since Sam Agnew-Wieland on April 6, 2013 (vs. Georgia Southern) to throw at least 7.0 innings, strike out nine batters and not allow a run.

Hampton also limited the Keydets (1-2) to two hits during his time on the hill.

The game proved to be another pitching battle through three-and-a-half scoreless innings before junior Tyler Stroup started off the bottom of the fourth by launching a solo jack on the just the second pitch of the at-bat to put App up 1-0. The homer was Stroup’s ninth of his career.

The Black and Gold would increase their lead in the sixth when junior Chandler Seagle singled to shallow center field and senior Brian Bauk walked on four-straight pitches. After sophomore Jason Curtis moved everybody one base on a groundout, Bauk broke home off a wild pitch by Brandon Barbery.

Wild pitches would afford Appalachian its final run of the evening in the seventh when freshman Calev Grubbs broke home as Kyle Staats’ ball hit the dirt and bounced to the backstop, giving him time to cross the plate.

After seven complete innings for Hampton, senior Matt Brill came in to close out the game – his first action on the mound since undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2015. Brill allowed just one run and one hit in 2.0 innings pitched, throwing 90-plus mph consistently throughout and getting three punchouts.

Staff report

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