JONESBORO, Ark. (AStateRedWolves.com) — After Arkansas State (15-10) gave up a pair of first-inning runs to the Golden Lions of Arkansas-Pine Bluff, relief pitchers Seth McWilliams and Cory Kyle pitched 8.1 innings of shutout baseball to lead the Red Wolves to a 4-2 victory over UAPB Wednesday night at Tomlinson Stadium and Kell Field.
With the win, Arkansas State picked up its fourth straight victory and improved to 12-3 at home.
McWilliams (3-0) worked 4.1 innings to get the win, giving up no runs on two hits with three strikeouts. Kyle worked the final four frames, retiring the last 12 batters he faced to earn his first save on the year. He struck out six batters and allowed just two hits, and neither Kyle nor McWilliams walked a batter on the night.
"I think the biggest thing coming out of these two midweek games is being able to see some guys that we wanted to throw on the mound, and being able to pick up two wins and take care of our home field," said ASU head coach Tommy Raffo.
"McWilliams came in and did great," added Raffo. "He upped the tempo and things got going for us to catch up and catch our breath. Cory did very good as well. It was good to see him out there and we wanted to get him some innings. It was important for that to happen, and we are very pleased with his outing."
UAPB (3-22-1) used RBI singles from center fielder Tyler Hill and left fielder Jacob Whitney to score its two first-inning runs before the Red Wolves were able to even the count with a pair of runs in the second. A run-scoring single from shortstop Dustin Jones sent home ASU's first run, and an RBI double from right fielder Collin Massanelli later in the inning tied the game at 2-2.
Arkansas State took a 3-2 lead in the fourth when designated hitter Ryan Emery singled to lead off the inning, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from first baseman Brandon Milhouse, stole third and scored on a passed ball. The Red Wolves added an insurance run in the eighth when left fielder Logan Uxa singled and eventually scored on a UAPB throwing error, the only error committed by either team on the night.
Both teams finished the game with six hits, with third baseman Claude Johnson going 2-for-4 to lead ASU. Whitney went 3-for-4 with an RBI to lead the Golden Lions. Stanten Jones (0-4) took the loss on the mound for UAPB, working 3.2 innings in relief of starter Redmond Floyd. Jones gave up one run on one hit, with five strikeouts and a pair of walks.
The Red Wolves will return to Sun Belt Conference play this weekend when ASU travels to Troy to face the Trojans in a three-game series that gets underway Friday at 6:00 p.m. Saturday's game is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. and will be televised by the Sun Belt Network and Sunday's game three is set for 1:00 p.m.
· Collin Massenelli reached base for the 12th straight game.
· Michael Faulkner stole his 20th base of the season, tying him for third most in the nation.