ASU baseball beats SEMO in extra inning thriller

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. ( — Dustin Jones scored on a wild pitch in the top of the 12th inning to lift Arkansas State to a 5-4 victory over Southeast Missouri Tuesday night at Capaha Field.

Jones led off the top of the 12th inning with a walk and moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt from Drew Burks. After a fly out by Kaleb Brown, Tanner Ring reached on an infield single to the shortstop that allowed Jones to move to third. He scored when the Redhawks threw their fifth wild pitch of the game to give A-State a 5-4 advantage.

Ring pitched a perfect bottom of the 12th to earn his second career victory as the Red Wolves improved their overall record to 20-17, while Southeast Missouri fell to 19-19 and lost their fifth straight midweek contest

Ring provided heroics in the game's first inning with a two-run home run in the bottom of the first inning. The true freshman from Batesville, Ark., sent a ball over the wall in leftfield for the first home run of his collegiate career. Kaleb Brown reached base after being hit by a pitch to start the game and Ring followed with the blast for the first and second runs batted in of his career.

The Red Wolves had an opportunity to add to their led in the top of the second inning. Alex Potts reached on an infield single to the shortstop and Jones reached on a walk. SEMO starter Alex Winkleman was chased from the game after throwing a wild pitch to Kevin Fitzpatrick that allowed both runners to move up a base. Alex Siddle replaced Winkleman and got Fitzpatrick to strike out swinging and then got Brown to foul out to the catcher to end the inning.

Seth McWilliams was effective through three innings in the first start of his career at Arkansas State, but ran into trouble in the fourth inning. The senior pitcher issued a 1-out single to Matt Tellor and then Andy Lennington reached on a throwing error from ASU third baseman Claude Johnson.

The Redhawks took advantage of the A-State miscue and Ryan Barnes drove home a run on a single to centerfield. Southeast Missouri tied the game on a squeeze bunt up the first base line in the next at-bat to tie the game at 2-2.

Adam Grantham replaced McWilliams, but gave up a two-out RBI single to Jason Blum to put SEMO ahead 4-2 after four innings. McWilliams struck out four, one shy of his career-high, in 3 2/3 innings of work.

The Red Wolves battled back and tied the game at 4-4 with two runs in the top of the sixth inning. Johnson and Logan Uxa led off the inning with a pair of singles and Jones drove in both runs with a double down the left field line. He moved to third on a passed ball and Burks reached on a pinch-hit walk, but the inning ended when Brown was robbed of a hit on a diving catch by Redhawks' centerfielder Clayton Evans.

Arkansas State drew a pair of 2-out walks in the top of the seventh inning, but failed to push across either run and then left runners stranded at second and third with one out in the top of the eighth inning. In the top of the ninth inning Johnson reached on a single up the middle and Uxa reached on his third walk of the night. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch, but Ryan Roberts struck out and Potts grounded out to the shortstop to end the inning.

The teams' combined to strand 26 runners on base on the night and throw 477 pitches. Ring finished the game 3-for-7 with two RBIs, while Johnson was 3-for-5. Jones added two hits and two RBIs, while Uxa tied the A-State record for walks in a game with four.

Four Red Wolves' relievers, Grantham, David Owen, John Koch and Ring combined to give up just two runs, none of which were earned, and two hits over 8 1/3 inning of relief.

The Red Wolves will travel to Louisiana-Monroe for a three-game Sun Belt Conference series April 19-21. Friday and Saturday's games are scheduled to start at 6 p.m., while Sunday's contest will begin at 1 p.m.