Hughston Armstrong Knocks Out Five Hits and Scores Winning Run in Ninth in Sweep over Appalachian State
Charleston, S.C. – Hughston Armstrong singled to lead off the bottom of the ninth, his career-high fifth hit of the game, and scored on a Bo Thompson sacrifice fly to give The Citadel an 8-7 win over Appalachian State and a sweep of its Southern Conference series at Riley Park.
The Bulldogs (24-17, 12-6 SoCon) won their seventh in a row and have consecutive conference sweeps for the first time since taking three straight from UNC Greensboro and Georgia Southern in their final two SoCon series in 2010. The seven-game winning streak is the longest since taking 13 straight near the end of the 2010 campaign.
The Bulldogs and Western Carolina are the only two teams in the SoCon with just six losses. The Citadel also earned its ninth series sweep over Appalachian State in Charleston under head coach Fred Jordan.
The Mountaineers (21-15, 10-10) rallied for three runs in the top of the ninth to even the score at seven. Hector Crespo and Will Callaway had RBI doubles, and Crespo scored on a wild pitch by closer Skylar Hunter to set up The Citadel's game-winning heroics.
Armstrong singled up the middle off Taylor Thurber and was sacrificed to second by Joe Jackson. Thurber unleashed a wild pitch to move Armstrong to third and he came across when Thompson's fly ball to right carried deep enough to prevent a potential play at the plate.
Armstrong eclipsed his previous career high of four hits set earlier this season against both Samford on March 10 and Georgia Southern on April 12. He added a walk to reach base all six times on Sunday, doubled twice and scored three runs. He went 8-for-12 in the series against the Mountaineers and is batting .536 (15-for-28) during The Citadel's winning streak.
Hunter earned his second win of the season while Thurber was charged with his first loss in three decisions. Austin Mason started for the Bulldogs and went 4 2/3 innings, allowing four hits and three unearned runs, before James Reeves went the next two giving up just one hit and striking out three.
Appalachian State scored a run in the first when Noah Holmes tripled past the diving Jason Smith in center and scored when Smith misplayed the ball on the warning track for an error. But the Bulldogs took control after that, scoring five runs in the opening three innings to build an early four-run cushion.
Mason Davis wasted little time extending his hitting streak to 10 games, one shy of his career high, with a leadoff single. He then stole second and third and scored when catcher Gabe Dimock threw the ball away on the second attempt. Davis has a team-leading 17 steals on the season, and Armstrong and Drew DeKerlegand also swiped a pair of bags with Armstrong successful in 14 of 15 tries on the year.
The Citadel added three two-out runs in the second off Mountaineer starter Jeffrey Springs, including an RBI single by Armstrong followed by a two-run homer by Jackson. With his seventh round tripper of the season, the Bulldog catcher increased his RBI total to a team-high 38 on the year.
The Bulldogs utilized the running game to score another run in the third to make it 5-1. DeKerlegand singled and stole second and third, eventually scoring on a base hit by Johnathan Stokes that chased Springs.
The Mountaineers scored twice in the fifth including an RBI single by Preston Troutman, but The Citadel matched those runs in the sixth when Armstrong singled and scored on a base hit by DeKerlegand and in the seventh on a bases loaded walk to Thompson that made it a 7-3 game.
The Bulldogs had several opportunities to create a larger working margin but left 15 runners on base including the sacks full three times.
Thompson did not have a hit but walked three times and now has reached base safely in 40 straight games dating back to the end of the 2012 season.
The Citadel hosts Charleston Southern on Tuesday at 3 p.m. in a makeup of a game that was rained out earlier this season. The Bulldogs resume SoCon action next weekend with a series at Furman beginning on Friday at 6:00.