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ASU takes three of four from Evansville in swept home series

By Daniel McFadin
On February 27, 2012

Arkansas State had to defeat two foes Sunday afternoon to win their first series of the year: the Purple Aces of Evansville and the wind.

After going down 1-0 in the top of the second on a RBI single by Evansville right fielder Michael Eckstein, the Red Wolves (4-4) stayed in the game with help from the bullpen and three scoreless innings from junior right hander Seth McWilliams.

"It was an outstanding outing for him. He had pitched earlier in the week against Ole Miss, so he got his feet wet," said head coach Tommy Raffo. "It was a group effort pitching staff wise, we had to battle offensively. Our park plays really differently with the wind blowing in, you noticed today not a lot of balls getting to the fence. Every base is such a key base."

Williams, who replaced Chris Kerwood after four inning of work, left in the after the seventh inning with one strikeout and no hits given up on 30 pitches.

"I let my defense work, I'm more of a ground ball pitcher, not a strikeout pitcher," said McWilliams, a native of Rolla, Mo.

"The wind here is just crazy. There's not a day that the winds not blowing in. Just having our batters hit ground balls and get on base...every extra base runner helps."

Effective pitching from Evansville's staff kept ASU from getting a run until Logan Uxa hit a single in the bottom of the fourth.

The first big hit came in the fifth when catcher Stuart Levy sent a deep ball onto the right field warning track .

The hit brought second baseman Alex Potts home plate standing for the first ASU score of the game.

The second run came from third baseman Zach George, who was brought home on a RBI double from Logan Uxa.

The final run came in the bottom of the eighth on a Michael Faulkner run brought in by pinch hitter Ryan Emery, who finished the game with two hits.

"That was the ultimate game winner, scoring late and to get the last three outs, knowing they were going to make a run at us late," said Raffo.

The Purple Aces (2-2) did attempt to make a run with their final set of batters, but could only muster one run.

The Red Wolves win clinched the four game series for ASU and puts the team at a .500 record after beginning the season 0-3.

ASU won single game series against Murray State before taking on Evansville, a school located in Indiana.

ASU won the first game of the series Friday night 4-2, won the first game of a double header 5-4 before Evansville took the night cap 5-1, setting up Sunday afternoon's game.

"When you play a Sunday game, you're kind of exhausted mentally and physically going into a third or fourth game of a weekend," said Raffo. "So it's important to have a good mind set, to finish games. I think today we saw some good things, we were behind again for the seventh out of eight game we've played now this year to start off. But our guys kept working, chipping away."

Arkansas State will now take four days off before beginning a three game series South Dakota State on Friday and then two games against SIU-Edwardsville.

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