Red Wolves begin four-game road stretch Wednesday at SEMO - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Red Wolves begin four-game road stretch Wednesday at SEMO

ARKANSAS STATE RED WOLVES

at Southeast Missouri State Redhawks

March 24, 2010 6:30 p.m.

Capaha Field (2,000) Cape Girardeau, Missouri

LiveStats Available at AStateRedWolves.com

LEADING OFF: The Arkansas State Red Wolves play the first of four consecutive games on the road Wednesday night when they travel to Cape Girardeau, Mo. for a non-conference battle with the Redhawks of Southeast Missouri State. All ASU games may be heard on KBTM 1230 AM and through the StateZone portion of AStateRedWolves.com. LiveStats may also be accessed by logging on to AStateRedWolves.com. The game will be available for viewing online at KFVS12.com. Coverage of the game is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. from Capaha Park. The multi-camera WebCast will be presented live at KFVS12.com, and then archived on the web site for users to watch at their convenience. Both the live presentations and the archived versions will be available free of charge with no subscription needed. The archived versions will be posted several hours after the end of game coverage.

THE TEAMS: Arkansas State is 12-8 on the season, while the Redhawks are 11-8 heading into a Tuesday night game against the Billikens of Saint Louis. In their most recent action, the Red Wolves defeated preseason Sun Belt Conference favorite Middle Tennessee State 4-3 March 19 to open a three-game league series in Jonesboro, but the Blue Raiders regrouped to claim the overall series victory with a pair of wins in Saturday's double-header. Middle Tennessee defeated ASU 8-5 to even the series, then held off the Red Wolves for a 2-0 victory in the rubber game. The Redhawks have won five straight heading into their Tuesday night clash with Saint Louis, and seven of their last eight. Last weekend, SEMO posted a three-game sweep over Valparaiso, winning 17-4, 5-3 and 8-7. The Redhawks are 10-1 at home this season, losing only to North Dakota by a single run, 6-5 March 13.

THE SEMO SERIES: Arkansas State holds a 29-25 lead in the all-time series against the Redhawks, including victories in both of the meetings between the two teams last year. When the teams met April 1 in Jonesboro, current Red Wolves junior Drew Benes held SEMO to just two hits to lead ASU to a 12-1 victory. Benes struck out four Redhawks and walked four in six innings of work. The Redhawks entered the game with a .320 team batting average and riding a 6-game win streak. When the Red Wolves traveled to Cape Girardeau April 22 for the rematch, then-senior Derrick Coleman went to the plate six times on the night and reached every time, notching a home run, two singles and three walks to help the Red Wolves post a 17-11 victory.

ON THE MOUND FOR ASU: Neither team has named a starter for Wednesday night's game.

ON DECK: The Red Wolves' road trip continues, this time heading south for a three-game Sun Belt Conference series against the Privateers of New Orleans. The series is scheduled to run March 26-28.

ASU PITCHING SHINES: Arkansas State's pitchers combined to post a combined ERA of 2.60 over five games during the week of March 14-20. The Red Wolves' pitching staff combined to give up just 13 earned runs over the five-game stretch, with three of those games against the explosive Middle Tennessee lineup. Each of ASU's five starters worked a minimum of 6.2 innings and none of the starters had an ERA higher than 4.05 - with four of the starters recording an ERA of 3.00 or lower. With the strong week, Arkansas State moved to the top of the Sun Belt Conference pitching chart and leads the league with a team ERA of 3.47.

ALLEN STRONG ON THE MOUND: Arkansas State starter Brad Allen threw six and one-thirds innings of no-hit baseball, before the Missouri State Bears finally broke through with their first hit in the seventh inning of the Red Wolves' game at Springfield March 17. 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.

OUTSTANDING WEEK FOR CACERES: Arkansas State junior Andres Caceres was exceptional on the mound in two appearances during the week of March 14-20. In 8.2 innings of work, Caceres did not give up an earned run, striking out nine opposing batters against four hits and four walks. He worked seven innings on the road at Missouri State March 16, striking out seven Bears. He returned to the mound four days later and shut down the explosive Middle Tennessee State offense for 1.2 innings, striking out two batters without giving up a run or a hit.

FERGUSON EARNS WIN OVER MTSU: Junior starter Andy Ferguson went eight and two-thirds innings to earn the win against preseason league favorite Middle Tennessee, holding the Blue Raiders to two earned runs on nine hits with seven strikeouts. Ferguson left the mound after throwing a season-high 126 pitches and walking just one batter on the night. Of the nine hits given up by Ferguson, six were singles.

AMONG THE BEST IN THE BELT: Not only do the Red Wolves lead the league with a team ERA of 3.47, ASU also leads the league in total runs allowed (92), earned runs (62), fewest walks (52), fewest balks (0) and fewest hit batters (18). Arkansas State is second in the league with six runners picked off and is holding opponents to a batting average of .271 to rank third in the Sun Belt. Individually, senior Ross Humes' ERA of 2.20 ranks fifth in the league, while sophomore Jacob Lee is ranked 11th with an ERA of 3.41. Junior Andy Ferguson is seventh in the Sun Belt with 28 strikeouts, followed by Lee who is tied for ninth at 26. Junior Wes Dagestad is seventh in the league with five games finished, Lee is holding opposing batters to an average of .245 to rank 12th and Ferguson joins freshman Daniel Wright to rank second in the conference, each with two runners picked off. Ferguson is eighth in the league with 30.2 innings pitched, and Humes is 12th at 28.2. Offensively, the Red Wolves have struck out just 119 times, which is the second-fewest in the Sun Belt. Individually, junior Jordan Castaldo is tied for fifth in the league in doubles (9), junior Murray Watts is second in walks (16), freshman Michael Faulkner is third in sacrifice bunts (4) and 10th in stolen bases (7) and senior Kyle DeGrace is sixth with in sacrifice bunts (3).

STREAKING: Arkansas State senior second baseman Giovanni Garcia carries a 15-game hit streak into this week's action. Garcia's hit streak is the longest for any ASU player this season. Garcia has hit successfully in all but one of the Red Wolves' games this season. Junior third baseman Jordan Castaldo has also put together a 10-game hit streak heading into the week.

CLOSE LOSSES: Four of the Red Wolves' eight losses on the season have been by a single run, and two others have been by three runs or less. Arkansas State lost by one run to 17th-ranked Ole Miss (3-2), Portland (5-4), IPFW (2-1) and Missouri State (2-1). The Red Wolves remaining nail-biters were against Middle Tennessee, with ASU falling 2-0 and 8-5.

ASU Sports Information

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