Springfield, MO (ASU) - Arkansas State starter Brad Allen threw six and one-thirds innings of no-hit baseball before the Missouri State Bears (5-11) rallied, but the Red Wolves (11-6) were able to hold in the final innings for a 5-4 victory Wednesday afternoon at Hammons Field.
Allen (3-0) retired 19 of the first 20 batters he faced on the afternoon, striking out six on the day while walking none to earn the win. He gave up three runs on three hits in the seventh. Before that, Missouri State's only baserunner reached on an error in the third.
After cutting the Red Wolves' lead to 5-3 in the seventh, the Bears added a run in the eighth, then loaded the bases in the ninth before ASU freshman Daniel Wright retired the only batter he faced to put the game away and earn his first career save.
"Obviously, we were in command in the beginning behind a great outing from Brad Allen," said Raffo. "They used a big inning in the seventh to make it close and we had to scratch and fight to hold on for the win."
Arkansas State jumped on the Bears in the second with four runs, three of which were scored with two outs on the board. Freshman designated hitter Ryan Emery got the scoring started when he got aboard with a one-out single, moved to second on a passed ball and scored on a single from catcher Kyle DeGrace. Second baseman Giovanni Garcia extended his team-high hit streak to 12 games when he sent a single to left field to drive in two more runs, and center fielder Todd Baumgartner drove in the final run of the inning when he beat out a throw from third for an infield single and the 4-0 ASU lead.
The Red Wolves tacked on another run in the third when Emery hit his first career home run, and the 5-0 advantage held until Missouri State got on the board in the seventh.
With one out in the seventh, Allen surrendered his first hit of the afternoon to Missouri State second baseman Kevin Medrano, and Medrano scored the Bears' first run later in the inning on a single from designated hitter Brett Noirfalise. Pinch-hitter Trevor Rogers sent a two-run double into left-center to cut the Red Wolves' lead to 5-3, before freshman reliever Brandon Milhouse got ASU out of the inning when he struck out MSU pinch-hitter Tyler Ryun.
Missouri State pulled to within a run in the eighth when catcher Brett Marshall reached on an error and eventually scored on a ground-out from Medrano, and the Bears got the tying run as far as third base before ASU junior Drew Benes came on to retire first baseman Luke Voit with a fly ball to center field for the final out of the inning.
Missouri State took advantage of a pair of walks and a hit batsman to load the bases in the ninth, but Wright got MSU center fielder Aaron Conway to foul out to first base to end the game.
Baumgartner went 4-for-5 with an RBI to lead the Red Wolves at the plate, while DeGrace was 3-for-4 with an RBI. Arkansas State held the Bears to five hits on the day, with no player recording more than one.
Starter J.C. Casey (0-2) took the loss on the mound for Missouri State, giving up four runs on six hits before the Red Wolves chased him from the mound after two innings. Casey walked one batter and struck out one.
With the win, Arkansas State stopped a six-game slide against the Bears and finished the two-game series with an even 1-1 count. Missouri State edged the Red Wolves 2-1 in Tuesday night's game one.
Arkansas State will return to action Friday, March 19 when the Red Wolves host Middle Tennessee State in a three-game Sun Belt Conference series at Tomlinson Stadium and Kell Field. The first pitch for Friday's game against the preseason SBC-favorite Blue Raiders is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. Saturday's game is scheduled for 4:00 p.m., and the series will close Sunday with a 1:00 p.m. contest.