ASU battles FIU in Sun Belt Baseball Tournament

From Arkansas State University

Games 57-60 • Sun Belt Conference Tournament • Monroe, La. • Warhawk Field

vs. No. 2 FIU (37-17-1, 20-9-1 SBC) - Wednesday, May 25, 3 p.m.

Jr. RHP Jacob Lee (5-4, 2.74 ERA) vs. Jr. LHP Phil Haig (9-3, 3.43)

vs. No. 3 Louisiana-Lafayette (31-24, 18-12 SBC) - Friday, May 27, 11 a.m.

Sr. RHP Andy Ferguson (6-4, 3.97 ERA) vs. Sr. LHP T.J. Geith (6-4, 4.78 ERA)

vs. No. 6 South Alabama (20-29, 10-17 SBC) - Saturday, May 28, 1 p.m.

Sr. RHP Brad Allen (2-5, 5.15 ERA) vs. Sr. RHP Carlton Paris (3-5, 4.28 ERA)

CHAMPIONSHIP GAME - Sunday, May 29, 1 p.m. (Televised by SBC Network)

GAME TIME: After sweeping their final Sun Belt Conference series of the regular season over UALR the Red Wolves have earned the No. 7 seed in the Sun Belt Conference Baseball Tournament in Monroe, La. this week. ASU will face off against No. 2 -seeded FIU in its first game on Wednesday at 3 p.m., has the day off on Thursday, and will face ULL on Friday at 11 a.m. and USA at 3 p.m. on Saturday.

TOURNAMENT FORMAT: The Sun Belt Conference has adjusted the tournament format for this season moving to a pool format. The eight qualifying teams have been split into two pools: Pool A (No. 1 Troy, No. 4 WKU, No. 5 FAU, No. 8 UALR) and Pool B (No. 2 FIU, No. 3 ULL, No. 6 USA, No. 7 Arkansas State). The two pools will play round-robin within their groups and the two teams from each pool with the best record will represent that pool in the championship game on Sunday.

CHAMPIONSHIP GAME TELEVISED: Every game of the Sun Belt Conference tournament will be web streamed with audio and video available on the Sun Belt Website. The championship game will be broadcast live on the Sun Belt Network at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

THE GROUP FIELD: First up for the Red Wolves is No. 2-seeded FIU who stands at 37-17-1. ASU went 0-2-1 against the Golden Panthers in regular season action. FIU is led by Pablo Bermudez leads FIU with 79 hits and a .380 batting average. FIU is batting .314 as a team and owns a 3.53 team ERA.

Next up for A-State will be Louisiana-Lafayette who stands at 31-24 and is seeded No. 3 in the SBC Tourney. The Red Wolves went 1-2 against the Ragin' Cajuns in regular season action at Tomlinson Stadium and Kell Field. ULL is led by Mike Petello who owns a .33 batting average and 70 hits. Petello also leads ULL with 41 RBI. ULL owns a team batting average of .279 and a team ERA of 3.75.

USA will be the final pool game for ASU. The Jaguars stand at 29-26 and picked up the No. 6 seed for the postseason tournament. ASU went 0-3 at South Alabama during regular season action. Brent Tanner leads the Jags with a .347 average, 75 hits, 9 home runs and 52 RBI. USA has a team batting average of .298 and team ERA of 5.25.

TOURNAMENT HISTORY: ASU is 13-29 all-time in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament. ASU won its first game in tournament action last season since 1998 going 2-2 winning its first two games of the tournament over ULL (8-6) and Troy (12-2). ASU's most success was during the 1994 season when the squad went 4-1 in the tourney and advanced to the NCAA Central Regional.

BAUMGARTNER EARNS FIRST TEAM ALL-CONFERENCE: Arkansas State senior outfielder Todd Baumgartner was named as a first team All-Sun Belt Conference selection announced by the league office at Family Night in Monroe, La., kicking off the 2011 Sun Belt Conference Baseball Tournament.

Baumgartner leads ASU with a .348 batting average, 80 hits, 54 runs scored 17 doubles, 39 RBI and eight doubles on the year and is batting .378 in league action.

UALR SWEEP: ASU picked up a sweep over its final weekend of regular season action taking games one and two over UALR 6-4 and game three 9-1. The three wins improved ASU's regular season record against the Trojans to 4-2.

THERE's NO TYING IN BASEBALL: Oh but there is, last week ASU was a part of one of the rarest situations in baseball when it battled FIU to an 8-8 eight inning tie. Due to a rain delay, the game did not begin in Miami as scheduled and due to the get away rule, the eighth inning was the last which started at 3:57 p.m. ASU took a two-run lead and FIU tied the game, but with the rule in place that no inning could start past 4 p.m. the game was ended in a tie.

BAUMGARTNER SETS RECORDS: ASU senior outfielder Todd Baumgartner leads ASU and ranks second in the Sun Belt Conference with 80 hits which moved Baumgartner into the top spot on the all-time career hitting list with 266 career hits . Baumgartner also has set school career marks in doubles (51) and total bases (389). Baumgartner needs just one more RBI to tie the school record for that category as well.

SHORT FIRST HR VERSUS FIU: Junior transfer Daniel Short hit his first home run of his career against FIU. The solo shot represented the only run of that game for the Red Wolves.

MILHOUSE VS. OLE MISS: In his first start of the season, sophomore Brandon Milhouse went 4-5 with two RBI and a run scored. On the year, Milhouse has a .700 batting average in 10 appearances. He has gone 7-10 at the plate with two doubles and three RBI.

REACHING BASE: ASU has two players that have big reached base streaks led by senior first baseman Jordan Castaldo who has reached base in 17 consecutive games. Todd Baumgartner has reached base in 13-straight contests and had the longest reached base streak of the year at 23 earlier this season.

FERGUSON NAMED SBC PITCHER OF THE WEEK: Arkansas State senior right-hander Andy Ferguson was named the Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Week announced the league office on Monday.

Ferguson turned in the most dominant performance of his career when the struck out a league-high 14 batters against Middle Tennessee on Friday. It was the first time this season for Ferguson to pitch all nine innings for the Red Wolves as he improved his overall record to 5-2 taking the complete game win.

As the usual Friday night starter, Ferguson is holding opposing batters to a team-low .220 batting average against usual starters. Ferguson owns a 3.57 ERA and 56 strikeouts on the season in 10 appearances on the hill.

MTSU SWEEP: ASU swept its first series of the season picking up wins over MTSU 6-5, 7-6 and 11-4 this past weekend at Tomlinson Stadium and Kell Field. The win pushed ASU up to sixth in the Sun Belt Conference Rankings.

ANOTHER SERIES WIN: ASU picked up its second SBC series win of the campaign when it took two out of three from the visiting Owls of FAU. The wins put ASU back into contention for the Sun Belt Conference tournament, tied for seventh in the league with MTSU.

CASTALDO BIG WEEK: Castaldo's bat came alive a few weeks ago when the senior first baseman went 7-16 with three home runs and six RBI in four starts. Castaldo's three home runs lifted his season total to five on the year with 27 RBI. Castaldo's strongest performance of the week came at SEMO when he went 3-4 with five RBI and two home runs with two runs scored.

MEMPHIS SWEEP: ASU swept its midweek series against Memphis by scores of 9-8 at FedEx Field and 5-4 in Jonesboro. In the series, Smith, Uxa, Faulkner and Emery each recorded three hits while Faulkner led the squad with three RBI.

FAULKNER NAMED POW: Arkansas State sophomore Michael Falkner was named the Sun Belt Conference Baseball Player of the Week for the competition week of March 20-27 announced the league office Monday.

Faulkner went 11-17 from the plate to lead ASU with a .647 batting average and a.882 slugging percentage. He also scored six runs and drove in seven RBI while going 3-3 on stolen base attempts as he helped ASU to a 2-2 record on the week.

Faulkner was perfect at the plate in the first half of ASU's twin bill against Louisiana-Lafayette on Sunday going 4-4 from the plate with three RBI and three runs scored. The week also saw Faulkner's return to the ASU defense after a shoulder injury kept him in a strictly offensive role for the Red Wolves for the past few weeks.

ASU continues action on Tuesday when they travel to Edwardsville, Ill. for a two-game midweek series against SIU Edwardsville. First pitch on Tuesday against the Cougars is set for 6 p.m.

BAUMGARTNER STREAK: Senior outfielder Todd Baumgartner team-high 14-game hitting streak was snapped at SIU-Edwardsville this past week in front of his home town crowd. Baumgartner's streak was the third longest on the team this season.

FAULKNER'S TRIPLE DOUBLES: Sophomore outfielder/DH Michael Faulkner picked up his first three doubles of the season legging out a trio of extra-base hits against Lyon College in midweek action. During that game Faulkner also recorded two RBI and two runs scored while also stealing a base.

BAUMGARTNER INSIDE THE PARK: Senior outfielder Todd Baumgartner recorded a rare feat legging out an inside the park home run against Lyon College. It was Baumgartner's second home run of the season. During that contest Baumgartner went 2-4 from the plate with four RBI and two runs scored.

CASTALDO STREAK: Senior first baseman Jordan Castaldo's hitting streak came to an end against Austin Peay but not before he extended it to 24-games which puts him alone in second-place on the all-time leader board behind Kevin Tate who had the longest hitting streak in school history with a 28-game streak in 1991.

BAUMGARTNER GOES 5-5: Senior outfielder Todd Baumgartner went 5-5 against Austin Peay in Friday night's action including picking up two doubles, four runs scored and an RBI.

SEASON SWEEP: With its 5-1 win over Murray State a couple of weeks ago, the Red Wolves completed a season-sweep of the Thoroughbreds. Earlier this season ASU picked up an 8-4 win at Tomlinson Stadium over Murray earlier this season.

LEE PRESEASON SBC PITCHER OF THE YEAR: Arkansas State junior starting pitcher Jacob Lee was named the Sun Belt Conference Preseason Pitcher of the Year announced the league last week. Lee also earned a Preseason All-Conference nod.

Lee is the top returning pitcher for the Red Wolves from last season whose pitching staff ranked third in the Sun Belt Conference. Lee had a team-best 3.80 ERA and worked to a 8-3 record including 92.1 innings pitched. Lee struck out a team-best 83 batters and held opponents to a .246 batting average. He owned a 6-2 record in league play and helped the Red Wolves to a 12-2 victory against Troy in the 2010 Sun Belt Conference tournament for which he earned all-tournament honors.

BAUMGARTNER EARNS ALL-CONFERENCE NOD: Senior outfielder Todd Baumgartner was named to the Sun Belt Conference preseason all-conference team. Baumgartner has one of the top returning bats for the Red Wolves and was a 2010 All-Sun Belt Conference selection. Last season, Baumgartner ranked second on the team with 42 RBI and had a .336 batting average. He also had 74 hits, 49 runs scored and 10 stolen bases. In the field, he was nearly perfect committing just one error in 112 chances for a .991 fielding percentage.

BASEBALL AMERICA ALL-SBC PRESEASON: Sophomore outfielder and junior RHP Jacob Lee earned preseason all-SBC honors by Baseball America. The Red Wolves were tabbed to finish sixth in the standings while Faulkner was called the best leadoff hitter in the league by Baseball America and Lee was tabbed as the second best pro prospect in the conference.