Baseball picks up key win, splitting midweek series
Published: Thursday, March 14, 2013
Updated: Thursday, March 14, 2013 17:03
The Arkansas State Red Wolves baseball team picked up a key win to take them into their conference opener this weekend, splitting their midweek series with the Missouri State Bears with a 7-5 win yesterday afternoon at Tomlinson Stadium.
Only four of the 12 runs were earned in a game that saw four errors, including three from the Bears. Senior Brandon Milhouse picked up the win for the Red Wolves, throwing three scoreless innings in middle relief, while freshman Adam Grantham collected his first career save.
The Bears claimed Tuesday’s match 6-2 on some extra-inning heroics that saw them edge ASU in the 11th inning, and they again jumped the Red Wolves to start Wednesday’s game.
Junior Cody Woodhouse got the start for ASU and was hit hard early, surrendering seven hits and five runs in four innings, though only one run was earned. He also issued a pair of walks.
Catcher Luke Voit’s one-out single set up Conor Smith’s RBI fielder’s choice, scoring Matheny after Red Wolves shortstop Dustin Jones made a diving play to snag the ball as it crossed second base and threw the ball to Alex Potts, but Potts was unable to turn the double play.
MSU right fielder Spencer Johnson belted a two-run standup double on a 2-0 pitch and was then scored by a double from Travis McComack to put the Bears ahead 4-0 after a half of an inning.
The Red Wolves matched MSU in the bottom of the second. Potts and DH Ryan Emery walked and after a fielding error on pitcher Mat Hall, that would end the inning, allowing Kaleb Brown to reach first, which loaded the bases for Jones, whose second swing tore down the right foul line but stayed fair, resulting in a two-run double.
The Bears’ pitching and defense failed further, with Brown scoring on an error from Eric Cheray and Jones coming in after Hall issued a bases-loaded walk to put the game even.
MSU briefly retook the lead in the fourth after an RBI double from Cheray, but catcher Ryan Roberts smashed a pitch from reliever Zach Merciez onto the warning track of the center-right gap in the fifth to score Logan Uxa and once again tie the game.
“One of the biggest offensive plays of the game besides Emery’s two-out was Ryan Roberts beating out that double play ball,” Raffo said. “That extended the inning and it gave us a chance to get more runs. It is amazing the way little things happen in this game that can turn into positives.”
A pair of singles in the seventh from Uxa and Potts set up Roberts with one out, but he struck out swinging, bringing Emery to the plate in a tight spot. With the count full, he bombed the ball into the opposite-field gap, and Potts and Uxa came home to give ASU the lead for good.
“[Merciez} started me off 3-0 on three fastballs outside, and coach Raffo gave me the green light [to swing], and I took it and got to 3-2. I sat on the same pitch, a fastball away, and crushed it in the gap,” Emery said.
“We were real excited about the energy and what we brought to the table after the performance last night,” head coach Tommy Raffo said. “We knew it was going to be a dog fight today and they are very good club. We got down early and that was tough after last night, but we battled back and were able to come back and tie the game and eventually take the lead and were able to close it out.”
The Red Wolves now turn their attention to this weekend’s series against UALR to begin conference play. ASU will travel to Little Rock for three games before heading to Missouri for two midweek games over Spring Break.