Baseball sweeps opening weekend

By Zach Roberts
On February 17, 2014

The Red Wolves baseball team swept the Miami of Ohio Red Hawks 3-0 in a three game series to get their 2014 season off to a strong start.

After bad weather postponed their Friday season opener, A-State saw their season begin with a doubleheader on Saturday.

The Red Wolves began the season with an easy 3-0 win over the Red Hawks, scoring all of their runs in the bottom of the third inning.

Game two of the double header saw a massive increase in the offensive performance of both teams, with the Red Wolves scoring three runs in the bottom of the first inning.

The Red Hawks put up four runs in the top of the second, but the Red Wolves responded with three runs of their own in the bottom of the second.

A-State further advanced their lead in the bottom of the fourth inning with four runs, putting the Red Wolves up 10-4.Miami grabbed one run in the top of the sixth as well as two more in the top of the seventh, but the Red Wolves effectively ended the game in the bottom of the seventh scoring an incredible eight runs.

The Red Hawks’ hopes for a comeback were thwarted when they only grabbed one run in the top of the ninth, and the Red Wolves took game two by a score of 18-8.

A-State baseball head coach Tommy Raffo was pleased by the results of the first two games. “Baseball is a funny game and it’s unbelievable how it worked out today. We had the big inning, were able to feed off that, and then played clean baseball defensively the first game,” Raffo said.

“All of our runs today were big innings, which are innings with three runs or more, and typically when you have that you’re gonna win a lot of ball games.”

The final game of the series allowed A-State to further assert their dominance of the Red Hawks.

In the bottom of the first sophomore designated hitter Matt Burgess grabbed an RBI single, bringing in junior first baseman Zach George for the first run of the game.

Keeping Miami scoreless, the Red Wolves took an opportunity in the bottom of the third to distance themselves from the Red Hawks on the scoreboard. The inning began with George grabbing a quick double, and then sophomore center fielder Austin Baker hitting an off-the-wall triple and also grabbing the RBI on George’s scored run. Up to bat once again Burgess grabbed an off-the-wall RBI double to bring in Baker, and soon after junior catcher Stuart Levy hit an RBI single to bring in Burgess before the inning retired.

The Red Hawks picked up two runs quickly in the top of the fourth to cut their deficit to two, but the Red Wolves once again set out to distance themselves with runs from senior Zach Maggio and George in the bottom of the fourth.

With Miami only able to put up one point in the top of the fifth inning, A-State’s freshman Joe Schrimpf and sophomore Derek Birginske found themselves with a pair of runs to retire the inning with the lead.

The bottom of the sixth inning was full of errors for the Red Hawks, allowing runners in scoring position out of the gate, but the Red Wolves looking to add to their lead increased it by three with runs from Baker, sophomore Kevin Fitzpatrick, and Schrimpf.Locking down Miami at three, A-State grabbed their final two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning on runs from Baker and Burgess, taking game three of the series 13-3.

“I think it’s a credit and a lot of the process Coach Everman and the offense are doing with our hitters” Raffo said. “They’re buying into a plan in a system that really creates some problems for a defense. They’ve worked very hard in the batting tunnel, on the field, a lot of high rep swings to put themselves in a position where you have days like today.”

The A-State Red Wolves baseball team takes the field again at 4 p.m. on Tuesday at Tomlinson Stadium to face off against the University of Arkansas at Monticello Boll Weevils.

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