JONESBORO (2/26/11) – The Arkansas State baseball team kept Evansville off the scoreboard all but one inning Saturday, but the Purple Aces used a big third inning to hand the Red Wolves a 4-1 setback at Tomlinson Stadium and even the three-game weekend series at 1-1.
A-State had at least one player on the base paths every inning, but left 11 men on base and was able to manufacture only one run in the fifth. ASU, which had just six hits, stranded at least one runner in all but one inning and was caught in a double-play four times by the Purple Aces.
The Purple Aces finished with just two more hits than the Red Wolves, but posted half their hits during their four-run fourth inning. They posted both a double and a triple during the at-bat, and also took advantage of a fielding error that led to one unearned run. Following the fourth inning, A-State set Evansville down in order the next three innings and didn't allow a hit until the ninth.
However, A-State was only able to close the gap with one run in the fifth inning. With two outs, ASU earned back-to-back walks before Ryan Emery singled to drive home Jordan Castaldo for ASU's only run. The Red Wolves left one runner on base in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings.
A-State looked as though it might rally in the ninth inning, starting its final at-bat with back-to-back singles by pinch hitters Daniel Short and Claude Johnson. However, A-State then hit into its fourth double-play of the game to halt its momentum and the next batter grounded out to end the game.
"We did a poor job offensively and our at-bats were not very good today," said ASU head coach Tommy Raffo. "They had four double-plays and that allowed them to get outs and shorten the game. I thought our pitching staff gave us a chance to win, but give credit to Evansville for the job they did in the fourth inning with those four runs."
Starting pitcher Kyle Lloyd picked up the victory for Evansville, giving up ASU's only run in five innings of work. Jacob Lee absorbed the loss despite limiting the Purple Aces to just three hits in five of his six innings of work. Lee also struck out eight batters and didn't issue a walk.
A-State was led by five players with a hit, including Emery with two and Castaldo with a double for A-State's only extra-base hit. Evansville was led by Ryan Oesterle with two hits and an RBI.
The three-game series between ASU and Evansville will conclude Sunday with first pitch scheduled for 1:00 p.m.