Cougars Give Appleton Milestone Win in 17-7 Triumph Over West Georgia
Columbus, Ga. -- For a while on Wednesday, it looked as though Greg Appleton might have to wait at least one more game to become the all-time leader in wins as CSU head baseball coach. Appleton's Cougars spotted West Georgia a 7-1 lead in the first four innings before the offense came to life and erupted for 16 runs in two innings to go on to a 17-7 win. The victory was Appleton's 467th as the Cougar mentor, surpassing the previous mark of Charles Ragsdale - the first coach at CSU and the man for whom the Cougars' home field is named.
CSU starter Robbie Nettles allowed five hits and three runs in three innings of work, with all three of the runs coming in the third inning on four hits. A botched defensive play on what was a planned sacrifice bunt resulted in a hit and an error and put runners in scoring position. The Wolves then got a groundout to score a run, followed by two straight hits for another run and a wild pitch that scored the third to make it 3-0 at that point.
The Cougars got a run back in the bottom of the inning on Logan Foster's RBI single to score Eric Weiss and make it 3-1, but the Wolves were not finished. Facing reliever Jordan Freeman, UWG rapped out four hits and scored four more times in the top of the fourth to go up 7-1. A squeeze play with an error added in led to the first run, followed by a two-RBI single by Mike Markakis. Ben Lillis then singled home another run to make it 7-1 before Freeman finally got out of the inning.
After going quietly in the fourth, CSU came alive in the fifth. The Cougars would hit for the cycle as a team in the inning with Jason Rogers' two-out single completing the feat. Weiss and Rogers walked to lead off the inning and then moved into scoring position on a wild pitch. Ryan Lewis doubled in both runs to start a string of four consecutive extra-base hits. Foster followed with another double and Cameron Griffin then tripled to the right field corner. Scoop Pharr then ripped another double to scor another run. After the next two batters were retired on flyouts, Weiss blasted a three-run homer to right-center to put the Cougars on top. Rogers followed with a single to complete the cycle in the inning and when the dust had settled, the Cougars had eight runs on six hits in the inning and led 8-7.
Freeman allowed a couple of hits in the sixth, but got out of the inning with no damage to get the Cougars back on the offensive. CSU repeated its scoring surge in the sixth, scoring eight more times. Eric Skinner and Weiss each drove in a pair of runs with hits with Skinner getting a double for his two RBI. Noah Watkins and Lewis added RBI hits and the final two runs came home on an error to make it 17-7.
Freeman picked up the win with three innings of work, allowing two earned runs and six hits. Brian Satterfield, Drew Cox and Brodie Liebrandt each tossed scoreless innings to finish up the game for CSU.
Weiss led the 18-hit CSU attack by going 4-4 with a double, a homer and five RBI. Alex Montes, Rogers, Lewis, Foster, Pharr and Skinner each collected two hits for the Cougars. Markakis led the Wolves (10-26) in hitting with three hits. Mark Nellist, the fifth of eight pitchers used by UWG, was tagged with the loss.
CSU (25-6) returns to action on Friday at Ragsdale Field as they host North Georgia to begin a Peach Belt Conference series. Friday's single game is set for 5 p.m. and Saturday's double header will start at 1 p.m.