Jonesboro (ASU) - Unable to survive an eight-run sixth inning by UALR, the Arkansas State baseball team suffered a 14-10 setback to the Trojans in its regular-season finale Saturday afternoon at Tomlinson Stadium and Kell Field.
While ASU won yesterday's game 18-6, UALR clinched the three-game series after also picking up a 6-3 victory in Thursday's opener. Arkansas State will carry a 28-26 overall record and 16-14 mark in league action into next week's Sun Belt Conference Tournament, while the Trojans ended their season 29-25 overall and 12-16 in conference play.
Unofficially, the Red Wolves will enter the conference tournament as the No. 7 seed and catch Louisiana-Lafayette, the No. 2 seed, in their first game. The official bracket is expected to be announced tonight.
ASU plated three runs in the third inning to take a 5-4 lead over UALR, but the Trojans scored a pair of runs in the fifth and then batted around in their big sixth to grab a 14-5 advantage. ASU scored the game's final five runs with two in both the sixth and seventh and one more in the eighth, but UALR was able to hold off the rally to claim the win.
"Obviously we were down by nine runs, but we continued to fight offensively and just couldn't get one more hit possibly to put some pressure on them," said ASU head coach Tommy Raffo. "I have to give UALR credit. They had 17 hits today and did a good job scoring some runs that really put us in a hole, and we just had a hard time climbing out."
ASU and UALR both recorded 17 hits, but the Trojans had three extra-base hits, including a three-run home run in the sixth, to the Red Wolves' two. Michael Faulkner accounted for both of ASU's extra-base hits, finishing the game with a single, double and triple. Along with Faulkner, Giovanni Garcia and Todd Baumgartner had a team-high three hits. Ryan Emery and Kyle DeGrace both had a team-high two RBI.
ASU used seven different pitchers in the contest, including starter Andres Caceres. Caceres gave up four runs over the first 2.1 innings before giving way to Brad Allen, who absorbed the loss despite pitching in just the third and fourth innings. Sean Potter picked up the victory for UALR, giving up two runs over four innings.
Offensively, the Trojans were led by two players with three hits, including Jason Houston with the game's only home run and a team-tying three RBI.
The Sun Belt Conference Tournament is scheduled for May 26-29 in Murfreesboro, Tenn.