JONESBORO, Ark. - Seniors Kyle DeGrace and Jordan Kimball each drove in three runs, and junior Andy Ferguson picked up the win on the mound as the Arkansas State Red Wolves (1-0) opened the 2010 baseball season with a 14-5 victory over Southern Illinois Friday afternoon at Tomlinson Stadium and Kell Field.
"What a great way to start the season," said ASU head coach Tommy Raffo. "Offensively, we talk about our club getting seven-plus runs or more. Typically you win 80 percent of your games when you do that. We had three big innings; five in the first, three in the fifth and four in the seventh, and I think we were 11-0 last year when we had two or more big innings so that's very positive. On the defensive side, they had opportunities but we denied them the big innings, so everything was going well percentage-wise for us to have a good day."
The Red Wolves plated five runs in the opening inning, four with two outs on the board. Freshman Zach Maggio walked and eventually scored on a passed ball to score the Red Wolves first run. DeGrace delivered a two-run single up the middle followed by a two-run hit to right field from Kimball to give Arkansas State the 5-0 advantage.
Southern Illinois cut the ASU lead to 5-2 in the top of the third, but the Red Wolves got both runs back in the bottom of the inning when DeGrace doubled to send a run home before scoring an SIU error to make it 7-2, ASU.
Arkansas State tacked on three more in the fifth to stretch the Red Wolves' lead to 10-2. Kimball drove in a run with an infield single, Maggio sent home the second run of the inning with a sacrifice to right field and Kimball scored on a triple from senior left fielder Josh DeMoney.
After the Salukis scored once in the sixth, Arkansas State extended its lead to 14-3 with four runs in the seventh, highlighted by RBI singles from Maggio and freshman Ryan Emery.
Southern Illinois used an RBI hit from center fielder Chris Murphy in the eighth and a sacrifice from second baseman Brock Harding in the ninth to set the final score at 14-5.
Ferguson (1-0) worked five innings to get the win for ASU, giving up two runs on four hits with two strikeouts and a two walks. Freshman John Koch worked three innings in relief, surrendering two runs on five hits. Koch struck out two batters while walking one. Junior transfer Andres Caceres worked the final inning, giving up one run on two hits with a walk and a strikeout.
Southern Illinois starter Jimmy Cornell (0-1) lasted just three innings in taking the loss for the Salukis. Cornell gave up seven runs on five hits, but struck out seven ASU batters while walking three.
The Red Wolves and Salukis will resume the three-game weekend series Saturday at noon.