ARKANSAS STATE RED WOLVES
vs. #18 Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
April 2-4, 2010 6:00 p.m., 4:00 p.m. & 1:00 p.m.
Tomlinson Stadium & Kell Field (1,200) Jonesboro, Arkansas
Radio: KBTM 1230 AM & AStateRedWolves.com
LiveStats Available at AStateRedWolves.com
LEADING OFF: The Arkansas State Red Wolves return to Sun Belt Conference action this weekend when they host the 18th-ranked Western Kentucky Hilltoppers in a three-game series at Tomlinson Stadium and Kell Field. 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 TEAMS: Arkansas State takes a four-game win streak into Friday's series opener and will take the field at 16-9 overall and 6-3 in Sun Belt Conference play. The Red Wolves swept a three-game series at New Orleans last weekend, winning 14-7, 7-6 and 17-3 to move into a tie for third place in the league standings. Arkansas State defeated Memphis 6-5 in its only midweek game this week. Western Kentucky travels to Jonesboro with an eight-game win streak on the line. The Hilltoppers own three-game sweeps against league opponents ULM and New Orleans and defeated 30th-ranked Kentucky 6-3 in Lexington in this week's midweek action. In addition to their overall eight-game win streak, the Hilltoppers have also won their last eight games played on the road. Western Kentucky is ranked 18th by Baseball America, 21st by Collegiate Baseball and 26th by Ping! Baseball. The Hilltoppers are the first ranked team to visit Tomlinson Stadium and Kell Field since Ole Miss brought a No. 12 national ranking to Jonesboro during the 2009 season. Arkansas State's last victory over a ranked opponent was a 7-5 win over No. 2 Ole Miss during the 2008 season.
THE WKU SERIES: Western Kentucky holds a 31-28 advantage in the all-time series. When the two teams met last year in Jonesboro, Western Kentucky edged ASU 3-2 in the series opener before the Red Wolves tied the series with an 8-6 win in game two. Western Kentucky took the series with a 3-0 victory in the Sunday finale. The most recent ASU series victory came during the 2007 season when ASU traveled to Bowling Green and took two-of-three games against the Hilltoppers. The last ASU series victory in Jonesboro was during the 2006 season when the Red Wolves won two of the three games in the series.
ON THE MOUND FOR ASU: Junior right-hander Andy Ferguson will get the Friday night start when the series opens April 2. Ferguson (2-1, 4.89 ERA) has made six appearances on the year, giving up 24 runs (19 earned) in 35.0 innings of work. He has walked eight batters, while striking out 30. Senior southpaw Ross Humes (3-1, 2.67 ERA) will also be making his seventh appearance on the season when he takes the mound in Saturday's game. In 33.2 innings on the mound, Humes has given up 17 runs but just 10 earned runs. Humes has fanned 18 batters on the season, while walking six. Sophomore Jacob Lee (3-2) will get the call in the Sunday finale. Lee has logged 36.0 innings of work in six appearances this year, giving up 15 runs (13 earned) on 31 hits with 32 strikeouts and 14 walks. He will take an ERA of 3.25 into the weekend series.
ON DECK: The Red Wolves will face Tennessee-Martin in a pair of midweek games next week before returning to Sun Belt Conference action with a weekend series at Louisiana-Monroe. Arkansas State will travel to UT-Martin Tuesday before the Skyhawks make the trip to Jonesboro for Wednesday's return game. Both games are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m.
AMONG THE BEST IN THE 'BELT: In Sun Belt Conference games only, Arkansas State second baseman Giovanni Garcia is tied for the league lead with 17 hits...Garcia and outfielder Cody Pace are tied for second place in the conference with five doubles...first baseman Murray Watts is fourth in the SBC with 12 RBIs...Sunday starter Jacob Lee is fifth in the Sun Belt with 21 strikeouts...center fielder Michael Faulkner is sixth in batting with a .432 average while shortstop Jordan Kimball is 13th at .414...as a team, Arkansas State is in second place in team batting with an average of .337 and the Red Wolves are in second place in team pitching with an ERA of 4.56...In all games played, the Red Wolves' ERA of 4.12 ranks third in the league and the team batting average of .321 ranks sixth...designated hitter Ryan Emery is 13th in overall batting with an average of .389...Saturday starter Ross Humes' ERA of 2.67 is fifth-best and Lee's overall ERA of 3.25 is seventh-best in the conference.