Red Wolves fall in series finale at FIU

MIAMI, Fla. ( — Collin Massanelli delivered a two-out, RBI single in the top of the ninth to tie the score, but Josh Anderson delivered a 3-run walk-off home run in the bottom of the eleventh inning to give FIU a 9-6 victory.

The Red Wolves suffered their first series sweep of the season and fell to 16-13 overall and 4-5 in Sun Belt Conference play. FIU improved 15-12 and 5-4 in league play.

Before Massanelli's game-tying single, Logan Uxa reached on an error by the first baseman and Claude Johnson walked to put runners on first and second.  After Ryan Roberts struck out, Massanelli tied the game with his single.  ASU pinch hit Ethan Yeo for Alex Potts and Yeo was intentionally walked to get to Austin Baker.  Baker struck out to end ASU's threat.

The game seemed to be heading towards a tie since the eleventh inning was going to be the last one played because no inning could start after 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time.  Anderson's homer made all of that a moot point as FIU earned the win.

John Kock took the loss for ASU to fall to 2-3 on the season, while Mitchell Davis pitched two scoreless innings of relief to earn the win for the Panthers and improve to 4-2 on the year.

A-State took its first lead of the game when Ryan Roberts drew a bases loaded walk that tied the score at 3-3. Massanelli followed with a sacrifice fly to center field that scored Ryan Emery, who reached base earlier in the inning with his team leading 31st walk, to give the Red Wolves a 4-3 edge.

Alex Potts then took advantage of the FIU defensive alignment by laying a bunt with two outs, but no one covered first base for the Panthers which allowed Potts to reach safely and Claude Johnson to score from third base with no play at the plate for a 5-3 ASU lead.

However the lead would be short lived, as FIU responded with a two-RBI double from Josh Anderson with two outs in the bottom half of the inning to tie the score at 5-5. The Panthers then took a 6-5 lead after Julius Gaines drove in a run with a fielder's choice in the bottom of the sixth.

The Red Wolves scored two runs in the top of the fourth inning when Johnson and Roberts led off the inning with a pair of walks and Massanelli followed with an RBI double to left-center field that scored Johnson. Roberts scored on a wild pitch by FIU Mike Franco to cut the FIU deficit to 3-2.

ASU had an opportunity to score in the top of the second inning when Johnson led off the inning with a single to extend his hitting streak to eight straight games. Roberts followed with a sing to the right side to move Johnson into scoring position with no out, but the Red Wolves failed to advance the runners any further and left both stranded on base.

FIU took a 3-0 after the second inning when Tyler Hibbert hit a 3-run home run to left field to give the Panthers the early lead. Wallace got a pop up and then struck out a batter to start the inning, but then hit Nathan Burns to put a man on base and Zach Sweety followed with a single to put two on with two outs.

Kevin Fitzpatrick reached base in the top of the third inning and then moved to third base after a failed pickoff attempt by FIU catcher Aramis Garcia allowed to him to advance two bases, but the freshman was left stranded after the next two batters struck out to end the inning.

ASU will return to Jonesboro for an eight-game home stand that will begin on Tuesday, April 2 when the Red Wolves host Southeast Missouri State at 6:30 p.m. at Tomlinson Stadium.