JONESBORO, Ark. (ASU) – The Arkansas State baseball team (10-5) split a doubleheader with the UAB Blazers (7-9) Saturday at Tomlinson Stadium and Kell Field. The Red Wolves took game one by a score of 8-1 to secure the series victory, but fell 4-2 in game two in their attempt to sweep the Blazers.
Sophomore Chandler Hawkins took the mound for his first start of the season and was fantastic in the game one victory for ASU. Hawkins gave up five hits, one run that was earned, and struck out three while walking two in seven innings of work to improve to 2-0 on the season. Senior John Koch also pitched two scoreless innings in relief for Arkansas State.
A-State jumped on the Blazers early with a three-run second inning. The Red Wolves scored on an Austin Baker RBI groundout, an error by the Blazers, and an RBI walk by Ryan Emery. Baker also delivered another RBI on a single in the bottom of the third to put ASU up 4-0. Alabama-Birmingham scored its lone run in the top of the fourth inning when John Frost homered over the right field wall.
The score remained 4-1 until the seventh inning when Dustin Jones doubled home Alex Potts and Emery singled home Jones to make the score 6-1. ASU added two more runs in the bottom of the eighth to increase its lead to 8-1 when Claude Johnson scored on a wild pitch and Potts plated Logan Uxa on a RBI fielder's choice.
"We were able to get a lead and expand on the lead, which was very important," ASU head coach Tommy Raffo said. "Chandler did a great job of holding them down and we were able to make plays, which was a big deal for us. Then we turned the ball over to John and we felt very good about that."
In the second game, ASU led 2-0 behind two RBI singles from Baker. Baker singled home Ryan Roberts in the bottom of the second inning and Johnson in the bottom of the fourth inning. The Blazers got on the board in the top of the sixth inning to get within 2-1 on a RBI single from Justin German. UAB tied the game up at 2-2 on another German single in the eighth inning.
The Blazers scored two runs in the top of the ninth to make the score 4-2 off a RBI single and a safety squeeze bunt. Potts earned a one-out walk, but ASU couldn't put anyone else on base in the bottom half against Blazer reliever Turner Lee, who went six scoreless innings in relief to earn the win for UAB.
Adam Grantham made the start and went two scoreless innings for ASU before Cody Woodhouse came in and gave the Red Wolves three scoreless innings in relief. Seth McWilliams took the loss for A-State to drop to 2-3 on the season.
"They won innings seven, eight, and nine and we didn't play clean baseball," Raffo said. "We have to score more runs to make it work. Even though we won two out of three, the ending doesn't feel very good."
The Red Wolves return to action Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. to take on Missouri State in a two-game, mid-week series in Jonesboro. Wednesday's first pitch against the Bears is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. at Tomlinson Stadium and Kell Field.