ASU sweeps UALR to open SBC play

JONESBORO, Ark. (3/18/12) — Trailing 3-0 heading into the bottom of the fourth, the Arkansas State Red Wolves (11-8, 3-0) plated five runs in the bottom of the frame to take a lead they would not give up, and went on to defeat the UALR Trojans 8-4 Sunday afternoon at Tomlinson Stadium and Kell Field.

With the win, the Red Wolves completed the series sweep over the Trojans after winning 7-3 in Friday's opener and 3-2 to clinch the series victory Saturday afternoon.

Junior Seth McWilliams picked up the win on the mound for the Red Wolves.  McWilliams went to the mound in the third with ASU trailing 3-0 and shut down the Trojans over the next four innings, giving up no runs on just two hits with no walks and no strikeouts.  Senior Brandon Farley worked the final three innings to earn his first save of the season.  Farley surrendered one run on one hit, striking out three and walking one.

"I thought we executed pitches well all weekend and played defense today," said ASU head coach Tommy Raffo.  "I was very pleased with Seth coming and kind of holding it down, kind of settling the game down for us.  Our hitters got over the hump and then we were able to go to the back side of our pen, and we felt good about that."

UALR jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first when designated hitter Nick Rountree singled through the ride side to send in a pair of runs.  An RBI triple in the third from left fielder Sean Bignall made it 3-0 before ASU put five runs on the board in the fourth.

After back-to-back walks from first baseman Zach George and left fielder Logan Uxa, right fielder Collin Massanelli singled to left field to plate George for the Red Wolves' first run of the game.  A two-run single by catcher Ryan Roberts, who went 3-for-4 to lead ASU on the day, tied the game at 3-3.  Arkansas State went on top 4-3 when shortstop Dustin Jones squeezed in a run from third with a sacrifice bunt to first base, and Roberts came home later in the inning on a balk to give A-State a 5-3 advantage.

The Red Wolves added three more runs in the seventh, getting the first two on a single to right field from Uxa, and the final run on a throwing error following Uxa's base hit.

UALR managed a final run on a sacrifice fly from third baseman Bryson Thionnet in the eighth and got a runner to third in the ninth, but Farley struck out second baseman Chris Burk to put the game in the books.

Trojan starter Tyler Buckley took the loss on the mound for UALR, giving up four runs on three hits in three innings of work.  Buckley struck out three and walked three.

"This game was three of 30," added Raffo.  "They are important, don't get me wrong, but you don't win the Sun Belt in one weekend.  There are still 27 games left and the next six are on the road.  They will be totally different environments and we have got to find a way to be good away from home."

Arkansas State returns to action Tuesday when the Red Wolves travel to Memphis, Tenn. for a midweek contest with the Tigers.  The first pitch is set for 6:30 p.m.  Following the game at Memphis, Arkansas State will travel to Lafayette, La. for a three-game Sun Belt Conference series at Louisiana-Lafayette March 23-25.