JONESBORO (3/6/11) – The Arkansas State baseball team (4-8) opened its three-game series against Creighton with 5-2 and 6-0 setbacks in a Sunday double-header at Tomlinson Stadium and Kell Field.
Heavy rainfall in the Jonesboro area forced the Red Wolves and Bluejays to postpone their games on both Friday and Saturday, prompting Sunday's twinbill that saw Creighton produce three more runs in the first game and six more in the second despite recording just two more hits in each game.
Creighton jumped out to a 5-0 lead over the first five innings in both games while getting strong efforts from its starting pitchers. A-State stranded nine runners to the Jays six in both games and was hampered by six errors, including five in the opener, that resulted in four unearned runs on the day as well.
While ASU left the bases loaded in the bottom of the first inning and stranded two runners in both the second and third, Creighton was able to take an early 3-0 lead after three innings of play in the day's first game. The Jays tacked on two more runs in the fifth before ASU starter Jacob Lee shut them down in the sixth and relievers Phillip Malatesta, Cody Powell and Bradley Wallace combined to allow only one hit over the final three innings.
ASU scored a run in the bottom half of the fifth inning and another in the sixth, but was unable to record a hit over the final three innings. Ty Blach allowed six hits over seven innings of work to record the win, while Jacob Lee absorbed the loss despite allowing just two earned runs over six innings.
The Blue Jays outhit the Red Wolves 8-6 in the second game as well and Jonas Dufek was solid on the mound, allowing just three hits over seven innings to pick up the win. The Jays scored one run in the second, third and sixth innings, but used a three-run fifth to distance themselves.
It wasn't until the ninth that ASU was able to put together multiple hits in one inning, but ASU stranded two runners to end the game. The ASU relievers again came in and performed well as Sam Jew allowed one hit over three innings and John Glidewell was perfect in the ninth, but the Jays had already done enough damage to get the win.
"We struggled offensively and this was a tough day for us," said ASU head coach Tommy Raffo. "We knew coming in that they have a very talented pitching staff and you've got to give some credit to their pitchers. We were never able to get much going and build some energy. I did think that our relief pitching was very solid. I thought our guys out of the pen did a good job coming in, getting outs and not allowing them to score much."
Jordan Castaldo led ASU offensively with three hits on the day, including two in the first game, while Ryan Emery posted one hit in each game. Seven other A-State batters posted one hit in one of the two games.
The Red Wolves and Bluejays will close their three-game series Monday at Tomlinson Stadium at 4:00 p.m.