MONROE, La., (5/28/11) – The Arkansas State baseball team led by as many as 10 and won 12-9 over South Alabama in their final contest of the 2011 Sun Belt Conference Tournament and the 2011 season.
The win pushed ASU's final season tally to 27-31-1 while South Alabama fell to 30-28 on the 2011 campaign.
Sophomore Michael Faulkner singled to lead off the game and advanced to third on a failed pick-off attempt by USA starter Collin Blankenship. Faulkner scored when Sophomore Zach Maggio hit into a ground out to third, giving ASU an early 1-0 lead.
South Alabama's Jake Overstreet tied the game when he plated Taylor White on an RBI single in the bottom of the first.
In the top of the second, freshman Dustin Jones drove in senior Jordan Castaldo and sophomore Logan Uxa on a one-out single which fell just over the third baseman's outstretched arm, giving A-State a 3-1 advantage. The very next batter, Faulkner then gave the Red Wolves a three-run lead when he singled down the left-line to bring in Tyler Smith. Ryan Emery then plated Jones on a two-out RBI single giving ASU a 5-1 advantage in the second frame.
The Red Wolves bats exploded in the third inning scoring six runs off of seven hits including three home runs
In the third, Castaldo led off the frame by jumping on the first pitch he saw hitting a solo home run, his eighth of the year over the left field fence, giving A-State a 6-1 advantage. Uxa then doubled before Zach George doubled-home Uxa with no outs in the third giving ASU a 7-1 lead.
With one out in the third, Jones hit his first home run of his collegiate career, a two run shot over the left-field fence. Then Zach Maggio hit his first collegiate home run with two outs in the same frame, giving ASU a 10-1 advantage.
With two outs, still in the third, Emery and Baumgartner hit back-to-back doubles to give ASU an 11-1 advantage.
South Alabama scored four runs in the bottom of the fifth inning when Jordan Patterson scored on a fielder's choice and Brent Tanner hit a three-run home run cutting into the A-State lead 11-5.
Logan Kirkland moved South Alabama within four runs in the seventh on a two-out two-RBI triple to plate Brent Tanner and Jeff DeBlieux. Kirkland then scored on an RBI single from Brad Hook moving USA within A-State 11-8.
Uxa gave the Red Wolves an insurance run in the eighth inning when he singled-home Maggio before Emery was tagged out to end the inning with A-State up 12-8.
In the bottom of the eighth, Nolan Early was walked by ASU reliever Andres Caceres with the bases loaded to move USA back within three runs of ASU, 12-9.
"Well kind of a weird day, obviously the day was important for the seniors. To end the season with a win is huge for our program and for our senior class, not a lot of people can say that across the country when tournaments are said and done," said ASU head coach Tommy Raffo. "So I am very proud of the accomplishment we had a lot of great efforts early in the game. We had to hang on a little bit at the end they made a good run at us."
Uxa led A-State going 3-5 with two runs scored and an RBI. Jones went 2-5 with four RBI and two runs scored. Faulkner, Maggio Emery and Smith also had two hits for A-State.
ASU starter Brad Allen took the win for the Red Wolves throwing 7.0 innings striking out six facing 35. Sam Jew pitched against three batters in the ninth to pick up the save.