JONESBORO, Ark. (ASU) — The Arkansas State baseball team (5-1) began its three-game home series against Western Illinois on Saturday by splitting a doubleheader with the Leathernecks, falling 2-1 in the opener before bouncing back to claim a 6-3 win in the second contest at Tomlinson Stadium and Kell Field.
The Red Wolves got a solid effort on the mound in both contests, limiting the Leathernecks to just five runs on 14 hits while striking out 20 batters. A-State managed just six hits in the opener, but came back to record 11 in its victory.
"I thought we got off to a slow start and it caught up with us in the first game," said ASU head coach Tommy Raffo. "Credit Western Illinois - they got after it and scored runs when they needed to. Our pitchers did a tremendous job holding them down throughout both games to give our offense a chance, and it finally came around in the second game and we were able to pick up a victory."
Despite allowing just two runs over seven innings of work, John Koch was pinned with the loss in the early outing. Chandler Hawkins closed the game with two perfect innings to give the Red Wolves an opportunity late, but they were unable to plate the tying run as they stranded two runners in both the eighth and ninth to close the game.
Western Illinois scored a run in the first and fourth innings to build a 2-0 advantage. The Red Wolves took advantage of two walks and two hits to score their only run in the sixth inning. Claude Johnson, who finished with a team-high two hits, came up with a single to center field that scored Zach George. However, the inning was one of four that A-State ended with two runners left on base.
Daniel Wright picked up the victory for ASU in the second game, giving up six hits while striking out eight over seven innings of work as he improved his record to 2-0 on the mound this year. Levi Shordon allowed only one hit over the final two innings in relief to collect the save.
A-State's offense was led by Logan Uxa, who recorded a team-high three hits and two RBI in five appearances at the plate. Dustin Jones and Collin Massanelli both recorded two hits and Massanelli was one of four A-State players with at least one RBI.
Western Illinois again plated one run in the first, but the lead was short-lived as the Red Wolves responded with three runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning. A-State tacked on another run in the third inning to build its lead to 4-1. Both teams scored a run in the fourth inning to keep ASU's three-run lead in tact at 5-2. The Leathernecks plated their final run in the fifth inning and the Red Wolves closed out the scoring with one in the eighth.
Arkansas State and Western Illinois will close out their three-game series at Tomlinson Stadium on Sunday at 1 p.m.