ASU starts baseball season vs. Bradley with home weekend series - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

ASU starts baseball season vs. Bradley with home weekend series

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From Arkansas State University

ARKANSAS STATE (0-0) vs BRADLEY (0-0)

GAMES 1-3
Dates: Feb. 15-17
First Pitch: Friday: 6 p.m.
                    Saturday: 2 p.m.
                    Sunday: 1 p.m.
Location: Jonesboro, Ark.
Stadium: Tomlinson Stadium(1,200)
Radio: East Arkansas Broadcasters
            95.3 FM The Ticket (Fri. & Sun.)
            970 AM KNEA (Fri. & Sun.)
101.3 FM and 1230 AM KBTM (Sat.)
Radio Talent: Brad Bobo (Fri-Sat.)
              Matt Stolz (Sunday)

SERIES
Series: 5-3 (ASU Leads)
Current Streak: ASU, 1 Loss
Last 3 Meetings: 11-3 (ASU)
         7-0 (ASU)
         11-5 (Bradley)
Raffo Record vs Bradley : 1st Meeting

MULTIMEDIA
Online Audio: AStateRedWolves.com
Live Stats: AStateRedWolves.com
                   TapStats

LEADING OFF: The 65th season of Arkansas State University will get underway this weekend when the Red Wolves host Bradley for a three-game series at Tomlinson Stadium/Kell Field. Opening day is set for Friday, Feb. 15 at 6 p.m. Saturday's game is set for a 2 p.m. start and will be a senior baseball card giveaway day, with fans receiving a baseball card of one of the senior baseball players on the A-State roster. Sunday's game will start at 1 p.m. and kids will have an opportunity to run the bases after the game.

THE TEAMS: A-State is coming off one of the most successful seasons in school history. In 2012 ASU had a 34-23 record and a 19-9 record in Sun Belt Conference play. A-State finished second overall in the SBC and the 34 victories were the most for any team in the Sun Belt Conference and the most in head coach Tommy Raffo's four seasons as head coach. ASU's 34 victories are also the most since winning 35 games in 1997 and the fourth-most in school history. ASU advanced to the championship game of the SBC Tournament for the first time since 1996.
Bradley finished the 2012 season with a 27-27-1 record and went 8-13 in the Missouri Valley Conference. Head coach Elvis Dominquez will begin his fifth season as the head coach of the Braves and returns 22 letterman, including six starters and seven pitchers. Greg Partyka is the team's top returning after hitting .282 with 10 home runs anf 42 RBIs.

ASU/BRADLEY SERIES HISTORY
• This will be the ninth, 10th and 11th meeting in the series history for the Red Wolves and the Braves.
• ASU leads the all-time series 5-3 and two of three games from Bradley in 3-game series in Jonesboro in 2007.
• The first meeting between the programs during the 1959 season, with each team winning one game in the two-game series.

SCOUTING THE BRAVES
• Bradley returns 23 letterman from its 2012 squad, inlcuing six starters in the field.
• Sophomore Chris Godinez returns after leading Bradley with a .320 average in 2012.
• The Braves also return their top run producer Greg Partyka, who drove in 45 runs last season.
• The Braves lost their top three starting pitchers from year ago. Joe Bircher, Tory Doerr and Justin Ziegler combined to go 15-10 in 2012.

ASU IN SEASON OPENERS
• The Red Wolves are 32-32 all-time on opening day. Arkansas State dropped its season opener a year ago, falling 2-1 to Lamar at the Lamar Invitational.
•  The Red Wolves are 2-2 in season openers under head coach Tommy Raffo, defeating Texas 4-3 in 2009 and Southern Illinois 14-5 in 2010.

LOOKING BACK AT 2012
• ASU had one of the most succesful seasons in school history, finishing with a 34-23 overall record and a 19-9 record in Sun Belt Conference play.
• A-State finished second overall in the SBC and the 34 victories were the most for any team in the Sun Belt Conference and the most in head coach Tommy Raffo's four seasons.
• ASU's 34 victories are also the most since winning 35 games in 1997 and the fourth-most in school history.

SBC CHAMPIONSHIP
• ASU advanced to the championship game of the SBC Tournament for the first  time since 1996.

PRESEASON HONORS
• Senior outfielder Logan Uxa and junior shortstop Dustin Jones were named to the Sun Belt Conference Preseason All-Conference team.
• Uxa led the Red Wolves with 10 home runs a year ago and drove in a team-high 44 runs. His .477 slugging percentage and .434 on-base percentage were each the second highest on the team, and he led the Red Wolves with 48 runs scored.
• Jones had a .279 batting average last season including 50 hits, 25 runs scored and seven doubles. He had a 10-game hitting and started 55 games at shortstop. In the field, he had a .966 fielding percentage and committed just eight errors on the year.

EXPERIENCE RETURNING
• Eight starting position players return for the 2012 team. John Koch, ASU's all-time career saves leader, will move to the starting rotation this season, while fellow senior Daniel Wright returns after posting a 5.14 ERA last season. He had a strong season in the New England Coast Baseball League where he helped his team win the NECBL Championship Series after posting a 6-0 record in the regular season and a 3.92 ERA.

STREAKS TO WATCH 
• Claude Johnson will bring a six game hitting into the 2013 season, while Zach Maggio has reached base in 22 straight games.

CLOSING OUT 2012 
• The Red Wolves were a perfect 28-0 in 2012 in games in which they held a lead after eight innings.
• They were 27-3 when leading after seven innings and 24-4 when leading after six frames.

SEASON OF FIRSTS
• Last season's weekend series sweep of South Alabama May 4-6 was the first-ever sweep of
the Jaguars by Arkansas State, adding to a string offirsts by the 2012 Red Wolves.
• The season saw not only the first series victories at Troy and Middle Tennessee, but also the first series win ever against Troy.
• The series victory at MTSU, coupled with a three-game sweep of the Raiders in 2011 also gives the Red Wolves their first-ever back-to-back series wins over MTSU.

GOING TO THE SHOW
• A-State had three players drafted from last year's squad, led by Jacob Lee who was drafted in the ninth round by the Cleveland Indians.
• Lee was the highest player ever drafted from the ASU baseball program.
• Michael Faulkner was taken in the 12th round by Seattle, making him the second highest selection ever in program history.
• Brandon Farley was taken in the 33rd round by the San Francisco Giants, while incoming freshman Adam Grantham was a 32nd round pick of the Atlanta Braves.

SUN BELT NETWORK TO AIR GAME
• The Sun Belt Conference has announced that the Arkansas State baseball game against UALR on May 18 will be televised by the Sun Belt Network through its partnership with Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast (CSS) and Cox Sports Television (CST). An official start time for the game will be announced at a later date.

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