Jonesboro (ASU) – Andy Ferguson pitched seven scoreless innings and John Koch didn't give up a hit in two innings of relief work, leading the Arkansas State baseball team to a 7-0 shutout victory over Portland on Friday night at Tomlinson Stadium and Kell Field in the opener of a three-game series with the Pilots.
The Red Wolves improved to 7-1 on the season and now hold their best record through eight games since posting a 7-1 mark in 2005 as well. ASU also remained undefeated at home, improving its record to 7-0 at Tomlinson Stadium. ASU handed Portland just its second loss of the season as the Pilots dropped to 6-2.
Ferguson improved to 2-0, striking out nine Portland batters and giving up just five hits on the night. Koch finished with three strikeouts, coming on in relief to help ASU maintain its 7-0 lead built over the first seven innings. Offensively, ASU picked up some timely hits and took advantage of six Portland errors on its way to the victory.
The Red Wolves scored twice in both the second and third innings before tacking on another run in the sixth and two in the seventh. Seven different players were responsible for ASU's seven hits, while Jordan Castaldo recorded a team-high two RBI. Josh DeMoney and Giovanni Garcia were responsible for driving home one run each.
"Andy did a wonderful job of being in the strike zone," said ASU head coach Tommy Raffo. "He didn't go to very many two-ball counts and did a good job as far as pressuring them. They put the ball in play and we made the plays behind him (Andy) after the first inning. Obviously, we were able to expand our lead and anytime you do that it is very difficult for a team to play catch-up with Andy on the mound throwing strikes."
ASU and Portland will resume the weekend series Saturday at 4:00 p.m.