Potts provides walkoff HR as ASU splits FAU doubleheader

JONESBORO, Ark. (AStateRedWolves.com) — The Arkansas State baseball team began its three-game home series against Florida Atlantic on Saturday by splitting a doubleheader with the Owls. ASU won the opener 3-2 in 10 innings, but fell 10-5 in the day's second game at Tomlinson Stadium and Kell Field.

Alex Potts provided the heroics in the day's first game by sending a solo home run over the wall in left field in the bottom of the 10th inning for his second walk-off hit of the season and the fourth of his career.

Potts, who had just one career home run entering the day, gave the Red Wolves (16-8, 4-1 SBC) their second walk-off victory with his only hit of the game. He also had a walk-off single earlier this season that propelled ASU to a victory over UAB on March 8.

"It is fun to see the guys get excited in the first game and Alex did a wonderful of getting  a pitch to hit and took it over the fence and that's awesome to end a game like that," ASU head baseball coach Tommy Raffo said. "Majority of doubleheaders are split and you very seldom do you see two-game sweep and the second game kind of got away from us early. We fought back and I was proud of our guys for that but we just were not able to pull it out."

Daniel Wright turned in his fourth quality start of the season after giving up just one unearned run on four hits in 6.2 innings. He tied a career-high with nine strikeouts and threw a season-high 130 pitches on the day.

ASU held a 2-1 lead after seven innings, but the Owls (14-9, 3-2) scored a run off A-State closer John Koch in the top of the eighth inning to tie the score at 2-2. Ryan Emery led off the bottom half of the inning with a walk and Kaleb Brown came on to pinch run. Johnson followed with a single through the left side, but Logan Uxa popped out on a failed bunt attempt.

After Potts grounded out back to the pitcher to move the runners to second and third, Ryan Roberts ended the inning with a ground out to the shortstop to end the A-State threat. The Red Wolves had another scoring opportunity in the bottom of the ninth when Dustin Jones reached third on a single by Kevin Fitzpatrick with 1-out, but Collin Massanelli struck out and Brown grounded out to end the inning and leave a runner stranded in scoring position.

The Red Wolves jumped out in front in the bottom of the first inning after scoring a pair of runs to take a 2-1 advantage. Fitzpatrick led off the inning with a walk and came around to score when Ryan Emery reached on a fielder's choice to tie the game at 1-1. Robert drew a bases loaded walk two batters later that scored Massanelli to ASU in front 2-1.

Koch earned the win in game one after pitching the final three innings and gave up one run on four hits while striking out four. Koch also earned the start in the second game but surrendered six runs on four hits and did not record an out in the loss.

He was replaced by Chandler Hawkins, who turned in a career-high seven strikeouts on the afternoon. Hawkins also gave up four runs on seven hits in 6.1 innings of work in game two. Hawkins also retired 12 straight batter between the

The Owls plated six runs in the top of the first, including a leadoff home run from Nathan Pittman to start the game. Following a single from Levi Meyer, Mark Nelson followed with 2-run home run to push the advantage to 3-0. FAU added three more runs in the inning to take a 6-0 lead after the first half inning of play.

A-State responded in the bottom half of the inning when Austin Baker led off with a solo home run on the first pitch from FAU pitcher Jake Meiers. Emery followed with a walk and scored on an RBI double from Johnson the cut the lead down to four. Ryan Roberts then singled up the middle to drive in Johnson to pull ASU within 6-3.

Ethan Yeo continued the inning with a single to right field and Potts drove in the inning's final run with a single up the middle that plated Roberts to bring ASU within 6-2.The Owls pushed the lead back to four, however, in the top of the second inning with a 2-run home run from Tyler Rocklein.

Roberts drove in his third run of the day in the bottom of the fifth inning to bring the Red Wolves within 10-5 but FAU tacked on two runs in the top of the seventh to push the lead to 10-5.

ASU and FAU will conclude the three-game series on Sunday at Tomlinson Stadium and Kell Field. The game is scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m.