HUNTSVILLE, Texas. (ASU) – Sam Houston State jumped out to an early 4-0 lead on Arkansas State after two innings and never looked back Saturday evening at Don Sanders Stadium.
The Bearkats jumped ahead after a two out, two-run single by Hayden Simerly in the bottom of the first inning. Sam Houston State was able to get two more runs the next inning on a Colt Atwood RBI single and Anthony Azar RBI single.
"I thought Sam Houston State came out with good intensity and had a little bit to show after last night," ASU head coach Tommy Raffo said. "Their pitcher was very good on the mound and we had some bad at-bats. They took advantage of some early run opportunities and had some key timely hits, but we really just couldn't get back in the game and all the momentum stayed in their dugout."
The Red Wolves threatened early by loading the bases in the first, but Stuart Levy grounded out to third to end the inning. In the second inning, Drew Burks led off with a single and Derek Birginske worked a one out walk to put runners on first and second for the top of the order. Dustin Jones and Logan Uxa couldn't bring the runners around though as both went down on strikes to end the threat.
"The game for us offensively was played in the first inning," Raffo said. "If we score the momentum shifts in our dugout and maybe things are a little different in how they feel over there. Instead, they got off the hook, scored, and felt pretty good about things and then took a 4-0 lead. That's how critical the game was played early, it wasn't played late, it was played early in the first."
Sam Houston State didn't let up and added one run in the fifth inning off a Spence Rahn double that chased ASU starter Daniel Wright out of the ballgame. Wright took the loss and gave up 5 runs, all earned, off of seven hits, three walks, and three strikeouts in 4.1 innings.
The Bearkats didn't put on the brakes in the bottom half of the sixth inning and scored three more runs off of Brandon Milhouse and Jon Luthe to go ahead 8-0. Sam Houston State scored their three runs off a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch, RBI groundout, and a wild pitch.
Arkansas State had one last gasp in the top of the seventh inning. The Red Wolves loaded the bases with two outs and scored one run off a RBI bases-loaded walk by Ryan Emery that plated Dustin Jones. Ethan Yeo pinch-hit for Alex Potts and grounded out to second base to end the inning.
One bright spot for the Red Wolves was sophomore relief pitcher Tyler Winfield. Winfield pitched the last two innings for A-State and allowed no runs on one hit, one walk, and three strikeouts.
ASU will attempt to win the series tomorrow behind freshman Adam Grantham (1-0, 3.68 ERA). Sam Houston State counters with another lefty Andrew Godail (1-0, 3.27 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.