Baseball blindsided by the Boll Weevils

By Dylan Travis
On February 20, 2014

The men’s baseball team fell to University of Arkansas-Monticello in a close match-up, 0-2, on Tuesday at Tomlinson Field.

The Red Wolves entered the contest on a three-game winning streak after defeating University of Miami in their season opening weekend. A-State looked to improve their record to 4-0 but UAM’s pitching shut down the Red Wolves.

Redshirt junior outfielder Kaleb Brown thought the Red Wolves left a lot on the field.
“We didn’t play to the best of our ability, that’s for sure,” he said.

UAM’s pitching combination of sophomores Zach McKnight and Gavin Johnson, and junior Jeff Harvill held Arkansas State to only seven hits in the shutout.

After the game head coach Tommy Raffo said the team’s failures were a combination of things.

“Granted they threw strikes and I credit them for that,” he said. “I thought we sped the game up a bit with our offense. We have to learn from this and I know we will get better but when we hold them to two runs at home we need to win those games. From an offensive standpoint, we know we can do it. It just wasn’t a good night for us.”

A-State had two opportunities late in the game with runners in scoring position, but they were unable to manufacture enough offense to move men across the plate.

In the bottom of the 8th inning sophomore outfielder Austin Baker stepped up to the plate with two runners in scoring position, but hit a ground ball to the second baseman ending the late game surge.

As time for an offensive comeback dwindled down, sophomore designated hitter/infielder Matt Burgess opened the inning with a single.

Sophomore Kevin Fitzpatrick stepped into the batter’s box and hit a solid shot down the third base line but Austin Williford snatched up the ball and started the 5-4-3 double play.

With two outs on the board, junior catcher Stuart Levy stood strong in the box and sent Harvill’s fastball into the outfield for an easy double. The next batter struck out, ending the game.

“We had the tying run to the plate,” Raffo said. “That’s all we can ask for as an offense.”

Raffo said game like this was important for his team and it revealed ways they can improve for the season ahead.

“I thought it was very interesting to see how this game played,” Raffo said. “Because as the game wore on it was a little different than the weekend games. To be able to go through a game like this, we got to see as a team how to handle it and improve, because we have 52 more games this season.”

A-State plays four games against Illinois State at 6 p.m. on Friday at Tomlinson Field.

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