Sunday's High Country Sports Update.... (2018-06-17 13:51:44)

Ballard Qualifies for Finals of 400-Meter Dash

BLOOMINGTON -- Appalachian State sprinter De'Shawn Ballard qualified for the finals in the 200-meter dash at the USATF Junior Outdoor Championships on Saturday.

Ballard clocked a time of 21.10 seconds, which was third in his heat and seventh overall in the event. The winner of each of the four heats plus the top four next fastest times qualified for the finals. He will run again in the finals of the 200-meter dash on Sunday at 4:25 p.m.

This marks the second straight season a member of the Mountaineer men's track program has advanced to the finals at the USATF Junior Outdoor Championships, as Elliott Graves qualified for the finals of the 110-meter hurdles and 400-meter hurdles last season.

Also representing the Mountaineers at the meet was Jessica Dixon. She competed in the 400-meter dash and finished fifth in her heat and 20th overall in 56.63 seconds. The top two times in each of the three heats, plus the next two fastest times advanced to the finals.

The USATF Junior Outdoor Championships run from Friday to Sunday and features the top junior athletes between ages 14 to 19.


Schmid Signs With St. Louis Cardinals

BOONE, N.C. — Left-handed pitcher Colin Schmid, a 13th-round MLB draft pick following his junior season at Appalachian State, signed with the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday night.

Schmid said he will begin his professional baseball career with the Johnson City Cardinals, who play their home games 54 miles from Boone as a member of the Appalachian League.

"I'd like to express my gratitude to App Nation for giving me a place to call home these past three years," Schmid said. "Being able to wear that 'A' and be in a community like App State has been an honor. I am excited to begin what's next for me in the future with the St. Louis Cardinals, but I'll never forget the memories that have been made here. Roll Neers!"

Johnson City begins its short-season schedule Tuesday and has its home opener three days later, with a first pitch of 7 p.m. for that Friday night matchup against Kingsport. That begins a three-game home series, and the Cardinals return to Johnson City on July 2.

In just three college seasons, Schmid pitched well enough to rank third in App State baseball history with 224 career strikeouts, tied for fifth with 248.1 career innings and alone in sixth with 41 career starts.

Schmid had a 3.95 ERA with 12 victories over the final 36 appearances (35 starts) of his Appalachian career, as he posted a 3.61 ERA as a sophomore and allowed two earned runs or less in eight of his 14 starts as a junior.

Schmid tied for third place in App State's single-season records with 83 strikeouts in 85.0 innings this year after recording a team-best 79 strikeouts (tied for eighth place) in 2017.


Carolina Outlasts Oregon State To Take Epic CWS Opener

OMAHA, Neb. --- Ben Casparius had three RBIs in his first game in more than a month and Cooper Criswell worked 2.1 innings of scoreless relief for his first career save as No. 6 North Carolina outlasted No. 3 Oregon State 8-6 in the College World Series opener Saturday at TD Ameritrade Park. Ike Freeman had three hits and Ashton McGee drove in a pair for the Tar Heels, who won their opening game in Omaha for the first time since 2008.

Oregon State (49-11-1) started the scoring against starter Gianluca Dalatri in the bottom of the first inning when Trevor Lamach hit a triple to center that scored a runner from second, making it 1-0 Beavers. Dalatri walked the next batter on four pitches and drew a mound visit from head coach Mike Fox and pitching coach Robert Woodard. After one warm-up pitch, he walked off the mound and exited after just 15 pitches, giving way to Caden O'Brien. O'Brien (7-0) escaped further trouble with a great barehanded play by Kyle Datres to retire the side.

The Tar Heels (44-18) got a run back in the top of the second courtesy of some small ball against OSU starter Luke Heimlich (16-2). With two runners on and nobody out, McGee laid down a bunt to put a pair in scoring position for Casparius. In the freshman's first game since May 11 against Duke, he rolled a grounder to third to score Zack Gahagan and tie the game at one.

In the third, Brandon Riley was able to give the Tar Heels their first lead of the day. A fly ball to right field was plenty deep enough to send Michael Busch home standing up, good for a 2-1 lead with just one out. Later in the inning after Ike Freeman blooped a single to left, and Roberts scored on a passed ball to make it 3-1.

Gahagan then laced a ball down the third base line on a ball that looked to be headed for extra bases, but it hit the third base umpire and kept Freeman at third base. After Brandon Martorano was hit by a pitch, the Heels loaded the bases with one out to end Heimlich's afternoon.

McGee greeted OSU reliever Brandon Eisert with a sacrifice fly to make it 4-1, but it was a Casparius RBI single that helped put a bigger crooked number on the board. Gahagan scored, and after the center fielder had trouble with the hard-hit single, Martorano was able to score on Oregon State's second error of the day. That made it 6-1 Carolina after two and a half.

The Beavers quickly responded against O'Brien in the bottom of the inning, putting a three spot on the board. A double from Larnach and a two-RBI single from Adley Rutschman made it 6-4 Tar Heels after three full innings of play.

The bullpens took command over the next couple of innings, leading up to the bottom of the sixth where Oregon State had a key opportunity with the tying run on base. With two on and one out, Josh Hiatt came on and relieved Joey Lancellotti with OSU's Cadyn Grenier up to bat. The Beavers' number-two hitter scorched a ball to short, but Freeman made a great play on a line drive and threw to second for a double play, preserving the Tar Heels' 6-4 lead.

The two teams traded pairs of runs in the seventh inning, with McGee and Casparius picking up RBIs and the Beavers tacking on two against Hiatt. Oregon State loaded the bases with two outs, but Criswell entered out of the bullpen and picked up a big strikeout to end the threat. After seven full innings, the Carolina lead was at 8-6.

From there, it was Criswell's game and he capitalized to help pick up the seven-out save. He worked out of a jam in the eighth and was nearly flawless in the ninth, sending Carolina home the winners in the first game of the College World Series.

The Tar Heels will play the winner of Saturday's game between Mississippi State and Washington on Monday at 7 p.m. ET.


Jones Sharp, Ortiz Homers, Claws Keep Playoffs Hopes Alive With 4-2 Win

The BlueClaws kept their playoff hopes alive with a 4-2 win on Saturday night against Hickory at FirstEnergy Park.

LAKEWOOD, NJ - Damon Jones gave up one run in six innings while striking out nine as the BlueClaws topped Hickory 4-2 at FirstEnergy Park on Saturday night, keeping their post-season hopes alive.

With Kannapolis losing 4-1 to Greensboro, the BlueClaws pulled even in the standings with the Intimidators heading into the final day of the half. Because Kannapolis has a better winning percentage by virtue of playing two fewer games, Lakewood (40-27) needs a win and a Kannapolis loss on Sunday to clinch a playoff berth.

The BlueClaws opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning on a two-run home run from Jhailyn Ortiz, his fifth home run of the year and fourth since returning from the disabled list on May 21st. In the second, Nick Maton hit a SAC fly that brought home Rodolfo Duran to put Lakewood up 3-1.

Crawdads starter Tyree Thompson came out after four innings, allowing three runs.

Kevin Markham extended the BlueClaws lead with an RBI double in the sixth inning off reliever Derek Heffel, driving in Daniel Brito, to put Lakewood up 4-1.

Those runs were more than enough for Jones, who lowered his ERA to 2.05. Tonight marked the second time he's fanned nine in a game this year.

Andrew Brown came on in the seventh inning for the BlueClaws and retired all six hitters he faced, striking out the side in the top of the eighth inning.

Addison Russ earned his 13th save despite allowing a home run in the ninth to Yohel Pozo.

Quincy Nieporte and Rodolfo Duran each had two hits for the BlueClaws.

The BlueClaws send LHP David Parkinson (5-1) to the mound in the Father's Day first-half finale at 1:05 pm. He'll oppose Crawdads RHP Alex Eubanks (4-4).