Baseball takes series against WIU
Published: Monday, February 25, 2013
Updated: Monday, February 25, 2013 17:02
The Red Wolves (6-1) continue their strong start to the season against the Western Illinois Leathernecks winning the final two games of a three game set.
ASU dropped game one of Saturday’s double-header by a score of 2-1. Despite a solid performance by senior John Koch (0-1), ASU failed to rally late and received their first loss of the season.
“We got off to a little bit of a slow start and it caught up to us in the first game. Credit them, they got after it and scored the runs when they needed to,” head coach Tommy Raffo said.
Koch struck out seven hitters in seven innings and allowed seven hits, two walks and two earned runs. In relief, sophomore Chandler Hawkins finished the game out registering three strike outs and not allowing any runs or hits to the Leatherneck offense.
“John (Koch) competed. It’s an interesting line-up for them presenting some different unique things,” Raffo continued. “He battled through and did a good job so I was pleased with what he did.”
ASU fell behind early, allowing a two-out-single up the middle to give WIU a 1-0 lead. The offense failed to respond and trailed 2-0 after giving up a double in the fourth.
ASU bounced back in game two, winning 6-3. The Red Wolves were led by pitching performances from senior Daniel Wright and sophomore Levi Shordon.
Wright (2-0) earned his second win of the season, striking out eight in seven innings work and allowed two earned runs on six hits.
“I was just trying to come out and set the tone and get the guys going again,” Wright said. “I gave up a run and the guys came back and put up a three-spot which really helped me get in a rhythm.”
Shordon picked up his first save of the season coming into relieve the eighth and ninth innings allowing no runs, one hit and two strike-outs.
Offensively, senior Logan Uxa continued his strong start to the season going 7-for-13 on the series and 3-for-5 in game two, posting a pair of singles and a double while driving in two runs.
“I’m just looking backside and today I was able to stay up the middle and get a couple hits,” Uxa said.
The team responded to WIU’s one-run first inning to start the game by scoring three runs in the bottom half capitalizing off an error and three hits.
WIU scored once in both the fourth and fifth innings to cut the lead to 5-3 but a wild pitch in the eighth allowed senior Alex Potts to come home and ASU closed out the Leathernecks to even up the series.
“It was big to get a big inning where we were able to capitalize off some good at-bats. Anytime you get a big inning it’s a predictor for a ball game so I’m proud of that and we just got to keep working,” Raffo said.
Uxa singled home George in the third inning and Sophomore Collin Massanelli drove home Dustin Jones in the fourth on a single up the middle. .
“We rallied the troops a little bit after game one. It was a tough loss for us being a one run game and we don’t like losing those, but we were able to battle back and get game two,” Uxa said.
Sunday’s rubber match was a game of momentum as the Red Wolves stood capturing the win 14-6 and the series. The offense shined behind the performances of Johnson, Uxa, Emery, and George who went a combined eight for 15 with nine runs batted in and eight walks.
The Red Wolves got going early with two outs scoring two runs in the first inning. Emery attacked the first pitch he saw and singled through the right side scoring George and Uxa.
“It was a change-up and luckily I hit it between first and second scoring both guys and that was good base running on their part,” Emery said.
ASU Freshman Adam Grantham (0-0) took the mound and pitched a near perfect first three innings before running into trouble in the fourth giving up a two run double. In for relief, senior Brandon Milhouse closed out the inning but not before WIU scratched across one more run on a fielder’s choice cutting the lead to 6-3. Grantham went slightly over three allowing three runs on four hits and struck out four.
Emery alluded to his routine of drawing a smiley face in the dirt to help him relax before stepping in to hit.
“It keeps me composed and not really live up to the moment but do what I do and helps me stay calm in the box,” Emery said.
ASU added four more in the seventh, capped off by an Uxa three-run home run to right field and scored three in the eighth inning to seal the team’s sixth victory and the series win.
“They’re a good club and play the game hard and I’m proud of our guys,” Raffo continued. “They made some runs at us in the middle part of the game and we were a little bit better 7-8-9.”
The Red Wolves will travel to Nashville, Tenn. to face Vanderbilt Tuesday at 4 p.m.