ASU’s Howard picks up first win in first startHome crowd gives former Tuscola standout a standing ovation after his 5.2 innings against N.C. A&T
BOONE — Making the first start of his career, true freshman Rob Howard, a former Tuscola standout, allowed just one run in 5.2 innings and Appalachian State University baseball cruised to its 13th-straight win over North Carolina A&T, a 7-3 triumph on Tuesday evening at Beaver Field at Jim and Bettie Smith Stadium.
Howard (1-0) limited N.C. A&T to just four hits and struck out four in his first career victory. The freshman had pitched only nine innings in his collegiate career before being called upon to make the start for Appalachian State (22-15), which is in the midst of a grueling stretch of 13 games in 17 days.
Howard sailed through the first five innings, retiring seven in a row at one point and surrendering just two singles. While the right-hander was nearly flawless on the mound, his offense scored a run in the first inning and two in the second, fourth and fifth to stake him to a commanding 7-0 lead.
After throwing no more than 51 pitches in any of the first six appearances of his career, Howard began to run out of gas as he approached the 75-pitch mark in the sixth inning. However, he still managed to limit the damage to just one run before leaving to a standing ovation with two outs and a 7-1 advantage in the sixth.
Appalachian State begins a SoCon 3-game home series with Samford at 6:30 p.m. today. Saturday’s second game is at 3 p.m. and the series finale is Sunday at 1 p.m. at Beaver Field at Jim and Bettie Smith Stadium.