Evansville, IN (ASU) - The Evansville Purple Aces (18-16) used a solo home run from right fielder Nate Smith to break a 4-4 tie in the eighth and went on to defeat Arkansas State 5-4 Friday night at Braun Stadium.
Arkansas State (22-12) led 4-1 after breaking a 1-1 tie with three runs in the top of the seventh, but a pair of costly errors in the bottom of the inning helped Evansville tie the score with three runs in the bottom of the frame, before Smith's homer in the eighth put the Aces on top for good.
Arkansas State grabbed a 1-0 advantage in the first, a lead that held until Evansville got on the board with a run in the fourth, but the Red Wolves missed opportunities in the opening frame to add more. ASU put runners at first and third with no outs on the board in the first after taking the 1-0 lead but could not get another runner home until the seventh.
"We had some opportunities to score some runs and really put some pressure on them, and didn't get it done," said ASU head coach Tommy Raffo. "It wasn't a very good outing offensively. We either missed some pitches or fouled some balls off, and didn't really have that one moment, that one at-bat that we really needed."
ASU center fielder Michael Faulkner reached on a dropped third strike to lead off the game, moved to second on a base hit from second baseman Giovanni Garcia and came home on an RBI single from third baseman Jordan Castaldo to give the Red Wolves the early lead 1-0. Evansville knotted the score at 1-1 in the fourth on a run-scoring single from catcher John Day.
Arkansas State took a 4-1 lead in the seventh, getting an RBI hit up the middle from designated hitter Ryan Emery and a two-run double from catcher Kyle DeGrace, but the Purple Aces used a pair of hits and a pair of ASU errors in the bottom of the inning to pull even again at 4-4.
Freshman Daniel Wright (3-2) took the loss for the Red Wolves, giving up four runs, two of which were earned, in one inning of work. Corey Davisson (4-1) picked up the win for Evansville, giving up two runs on two hits, with a walk and two strikeouts in one and two-thirds innings.
Emery had two hits and an RBI to lead ASU at the plate, while third baseman Cody Fick had two hits and an RBI to lead the Purple Aces.
The Red Wolves and Purple Aces will resume the series Saturday at 4:00 p.m.