Appalachian State Holds Off Furman, 3-2

Taylor Johnson vs. Cincinnati, 2011
Taylor Johnson vs. Cincinnati, 2011

GREENVILLE, S.C. --  Seth Grant hurled 7 1/3 innings of solid baseball and Appalachian State held off a late Furman rally to claim Sunday's Southern Conference series finale, 3-2, at Latham Stadium.

The victory gave Appalachian State the series two games to one and improved the Mountaineers to 18-15 overall and 6-9 in SoCon play.  Furman falls to 16-17 overall and 7-7 in league action.

Grant (3-4), a junior right-hander, allowed only one hit over the first seven innings, and his teammates managed to forge a 3-0 lead before Furman (16-17, 7-7 SoCon) rallied for two runs in the eighth to make it 3-2.

In the ninth, the Paladins used a two-out fielding error to put the tying run at second base, but Furman's Alex Abrams' lined out to center field to end the game.

Grant allowed two runs on four hits in earning the victory.  He walked two and struck out five.

Tyler Wood (2-3) absorbed the loss for Furman after working 5 2/3 innings, allowing three runs, two of which were earned, on eight hits while fanning two.

Highlighted by Daniel Kassouf's 2-for-4 performance that included a two-run home run, the Mountaineers banged out eight hits in the game.

Furman managed only five hits, four of which came in their final three at bats.

The Mountaineers grabbed a 2-0 second inning lead when Zack Briggs raced to first after a swinging strikeout and passed ball.  Kassouf followed with a two-run home run to left field on a one-ball, two-strike offering from Wood.

ASU made it 3-0 in the sixth.  Trey Holmes led off with double and scored on a Jack Myers single.

Grant, meanwhile retired 10 Paladins in a row from the bottom of the third thru the sixth before running into trouble in the seventh.  Aaron Thompkins led off the frame with a single and Reese Wade followed with a double into the right field corner.  Will Miller's sacrifice fly plated Thompkins, and Wade scored on a ground out to make it 3-2.

In the eighth Appalachian State caught a break when pinch hitter Taylor Johnson rocketed a one-out double that landed just inches underneath the yellow liner at the top of the fence.  Taylor's hit chased Grant, and his replacement, David Port, got the second out on a fielder's choice grounder off the bat of Hunter Burton that Mountaineer first baseman fielded and threw to third baseman Zack Briggs, who applied the tag on pinch-runner Rob Fondue between second and third.

Will Owens kept the inning alive with a single to left field to move Burton to second, but Will Helms, who came on for Port, induced Aaron Thompkins into an inning ending groundout.

In the ninth ASU shortstop Doug Jones' two-out throwing error allowed Will Muzika to reach second base.  Closer Taylor Miller, however, regrouped to get Alex Abrams on a line drive to center field to end the game and notch the save, his sixth of the season.

Furman's bullpen gave the Paladins a chance with Drake Brown and Dylan Cole combining to throw hit-less ball over the final 3 1/3 innings.

The Paladins entertain Winthrop on Tuesday in a 6:00 p.m. game.

Pictured:  Taylor Johnson delivered a pinch-hit double in Sunday's game.