JONESBORO, Ark. (ASU) – Arkansas State freshman pitcher Adam Grantham threw four shutout innings and earned his first career win to the lead the Red Wolves to a 12-2 victory over Bradley on Sunday afternoon at Tomlinson Stadium and Kell Field.
The Red Wolves ran their record to 3-0 for the first time since 1997 and also began the year with a three-game series sweep for the first time 1971. The ASU pitching staff recorded 37 strikeouts during the series and allowed just eight runs.
"We had an opportunity after the first two games to get a series and the biggest thing is what do you do on that third game," ASU head baseball coach Tommy Raffo said. "We took care of some business early in the game and we were able to get the win."
Grantham earned the win after pitching four innings, allowing just two hits and striking out five. The Kennett, Mo., native struck out the first batter he faced and worked out of a second and third jam in the fourth inning to record his first career win.
A-State jumped on top early with six runs in the first inning. Eight of the first nine batters reached base for the Red Wolves in the inning. Kaleb Brown reached on an error to start the inning and later scored on an RBI single from Zach George to give the Red Wolves an early 1-0 lead. Stuart Levy followed with a double that drove in two runs. Alex Potts drove home two more runs later in the inning and Dustin Jones scored after the ball was misplayed in right field to give ASU 6-0 first inning lead.
"It was good to come out of the chute like that and put up a six spot," Raffo said. "I think it probably helped settle Adam a little bit and it is a positive thing when you start throwing big numbers up there and we had two of them."
Grantham settled and sat down the Braves (0-3) in order in the top of the second and third innings, before working himself into trouble in the top of the fourth. After allowing back-to-back singles to start the inning, Grantham through a wild pitch that allowed the runners to advance to second and third with just one out, but the 6-2, right-hander battled back and got the next batter to strike out swinging before the inning ended with a fly ball to Drew Burks in right field.
The Red Wolves tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the sixth inning when Brown drove in Potts and Ryan Emery with a two-RBI single to push the lead to 8-0.
The Braves scored their only two runs of the game in the top of eighth inning to cut the lead to 8-2, but the Red Wolves responded with four runs in the bottom half of the inning to widen the lead to 12-2. George drove in his second run of the game to make the score 9-2, followed by an RBI single by Logan Uxa. Austin Baker reached base on an error later in the inning that allowed George to score. Ethan Yeo followed with an RBI single that scored Uxa that set the final score.
Freshman Tanner Ring pitched a perfect ninth inning, including two strikeout, to secure the final. Brown, Levy and Potts finished with two RBIs each, while Potts and Brown also scored two runs each.
A-State will travel to Memphis on Tuesday, Feb. 19 to take on the Tigers. First-pitch is set for 4 p.m.