JONESBORO (ASU) – The Arkansas State baseball team took both games of its doubleheader Saturday against UALR, winning 6-4 in the opener and 9-1 in the second game to complete its regular season with a three-game series sweep of the Trojans at Tomlinson Stadium and Kell Field.
A-State, which secured the No. 7 seed in the upcoming Sun Belt Conference Tournament, improved to 25-30-1 overall and 13-16-1 in league action. UALR dropped to 20-32 overall and 10-20 in Sun Belt play. The Red Wolves picked up their second three-game sweep over a conference opponent this season, also going undefeated in its home series against Middle Tennessee that was played April 29-May 1.
"This was a good series all the way around, offensively and defensively," said ASU head coach Tommy Raffo. "We actually saw some good things from our team the weekend before against Florida International and we just needed to clean it up some. That was a big challenge going into this series against UALR, to see if we could do that. I think we did as a club and it will help prepare us for the Sun Belt Tournament."
ASU never trailed in either game and posted a combined 27 hits on the day, eight more than UALR. The Red Wolves used nine pitchers, four in the first game and five in the second, for at least one inning, and six of them didn't surrender a run behind the strength of a defense that didn't commit a single error.
Ten different A-State players recorded at least one hit on the day, including Tyler Smith, Michael Faulkner and Ryan Emery with a team-high five hits each. Along with Zach Maggio, Smith and Emery also drove in a team-best three runs.
A-State took advantage of two walks and three hits in the third inning to take an early 4-0 lead in the opener. George put the Red Wolves on the board first with a two-RBI double and Smith then drove in two runs with a single to left field.
UALR was able to come back and tie the game at 4-4 with two runs in the top of the fifth and two in the seventh. However, after the Trojans tied the game in the top of the seventh, ASU plated two runs during in its next at-bat to set the final score. Todd Baumgartner led off with a solo home run. ASU's next two batters singled and then Smith brought home the game's final run on a single.
Despite giving up just two runs over six innings of work, ASU starter Brad Allen was unable to pick up the victory. Sam Jew got the win to improve to 2-2 on the year and Jacob Lee, used as a starter for the majority of his career, entered the game in the ninth inning to pick up his first save of the season.
ASU got four solid innings from starter Andres Caceres in the second game as he gave up just three hits and didn't allow a single run. Caceres got his first win of the season for his effort. ASU was able to take advantage of two errors in the second inning to score three unearned runs, then later stretched its lead to 5-0 with a pair of runs in the fourth.
The Red Wolves added another run in the sixth and and three more in the seventh to stretch its lead to 9-0 before UALR scored one in the eighth to set the final score.
The Sun Belt Conference Tournament will be played May 25-29 in Monroe, La. The Red Wolves opening game will be played Wednesday, May 25 at 3:00 p.m. against the No. 2 seed Florida International Panthers.