Baseball team overpowers Skyhawks in make-up game
Published: Thursday, March 7, 2013
Updated: Thursday, March 7, 2013 16:03
After dropping a weekend series to Sam Houston State, the Arkansas State Red Wolves baseball team corrected course with a 9-0 pummeling of the UT-Martin Skyhawks Tuesday night at Tomlinson Stadium.
The game was a make-up for the Feb. 20 match against Lyon College that was canceled. The Red Wolves controlled the game from the start and racked up 13 hits against six Skyhawk pitchers. Junior third baseman Claude Johnson hit 3-5 including a double, while senior first baseman Logan Uxa went 3-3 with an RBI and two walks.
“I think the biggest thing was our pitchers were down in the strike zone, the hitters were more aggressive early in the ballgame and we played clean in the field,” head coach Tommy Raffo said. “When those three things happen, good things are going to happen for Arkansas State.”
UTM managed only three hits against an ensemble of ASU pitchers, including junior starter Bradley Wallace, whose three strikeouts in three innings earned him the win.
After a three-and-out to start the game, the Red Wolves began the rout in the second inning. Uxa started the bottom of the inning with a standup double and advanced to third after catcher Ryan Roberts grounded out.
Later in the inning, center fielder Collin Massanelli tripled on a 2-0 pitch to score Uxa and himself the following at-bat after UTM catcher Ben Brewer couldn’t get a handle on a pitch in the dirt.
ASU busted down the gate in the third, scoring five against Cody Miller, who surrendered three hits and issued two walks in only a third of an inning. Johnson’s single put right fielder Ryan Emery, who walked, at third and Uxa knocked him in on a base hit.
Second baseman Alex Potts’ double scored both Johnson and Uxa and Massanelli and DH Ethan Yeo added runs from a sac fly and a single to put ASU ahead 7-0.
The Skyhawks never found a rhythm at the plate, as five Red Wolf relievers stymied the opposition, giving up only two hits in six innings with no walks. Meanwhile, ASU continued to rake, registering a hit against every pitcher they faced, though the team struck out ten times.
“When you play a game like this, the zone gets expanded. In other words, our hitters have to understand that when you a score that’s eight [or] nine to nothing, pitchers on the outer half now are called a little bit differently,” said Raffo.
By the latter third of the game, Raffo began cycling in a number of freshmen, including center fielder Ryan Fitzpatrick, who smacked his first career RBI on a single that scored Potts in the seventh. Redshirt sophomore Kaleb Brown added a run on fielder’s choice in the eighth to solidify the win.
The team will now prepare for a weekend showdown at home against Alabama-Birmingham, though they will be without junior Zach George, who suffered a torn ACL and will miss the rest of the season. Friday’s first pitch is set for 6 p.m., while Saturday’s game will be played at 4 p.m. and Sunday’s will be at 1 p.m.