Jonesboro (ASU) - Trailing 6-5 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning, the Arkansas State Red Wolves (22-11) rallied with three runs in the bottom of the frame and went on to defeat the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks 9-6 Wednesday night at Tomlinson Stadium and Kell Field.
The Red Wolves tied the game when center fielder Michael Faulkner singled up the middle to knot the score at 6-6, then went ahead 7-6 when third baseman Jordan Castaldo sent a sacrifice fly into center field. Arkansas State added a run later in the inning when Faulkner scored on a double steal, and first baseman Murray Watts doubled, advanced to third on a passed ball and came home on a balk in the seventh to plate the final run for ASU.
Southeast Missouri State (20-12) came into the game hitting .357 as a team to rank fifth nationally, and the Redhawks out-hit ASU 11-9, but seven Red Wolves pitchers combined to hold SEMO scoreless in all but two innings. Junior Drew Benes (1-1) worked one and one-thirds innings to get the win, while freshman John Koch went to the mound in the final inning to pick up his fourth save of the season.
"We knew going in how good SEMO was at the plate and that they were tough outs," said ASU head coach Tommy Raffo. "We knew they were going to score some runs, but we matched that and overcame it twice. I am very pleased with some of the efforts and at-bats we had when we were down that allowed us to get back in the game."
"It was kind of neat to see a lot of guys throw for us tonight and really chip in," added Raffo. "That was good for our pitching staff and good for the team. It was a great team win and a great effort."
The Redhawks jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first before ASU matched the effort in the bottom of the inning, highlighted by a two-out two-run single through the right side from catcher Kyle DeGrace.
SEMO regained the lead in the fifth when right fielder Louie Haseltine cleared the bases with a three-run double to give the Redhawks a 6-3 advantage, but Arkansas State pulled within a run with two scores in the bottom of the inning before taking the lead for good in the sixth.
Faulkner had two hits and an RBI to lead ASU at the plate, while Haseltine was 2-for-4 with four RBIs to lead SEMO. Jacob Wente (0-1) took the loss on the mound for the Redhawks, giving up the three sixth-inning ASU runs on three hits in one inning of work.
Arkansas State will return to action April 16 when the Red Wolves take a break from Sun Belt Conference action to visit the Evansville Purple Aces, beginning with Friday's 6:00 p.m. series opener. Saturday's game is scheduled for 2:00 p.m, and Sunday's game three is set to get underway at 1:00 p.m.