TROY, AL (ASU) — The Arkansas State baseball scored a season-high 15 runs and hung after a late charge from Troy for a 15-14 Sun Belt Conference victory Sunday afternoon at Riddle-Pace Field.
The Red Wolves (25-27, 11-16) led 14-1 after 3 ½ innings but Troy (37-14, 18-9) outscored A-State 14-4 from that point, but A-State's David Owen was able to close the door on the Troy in the ninth inning to preserve the victory for ASU.
Owen pitched the game's final five innings and surrendered six runs on four hits, but retired the Trojans in order in the bottom of the ninth inning, while clinging just a one run lead to end an eight-game losing streak for ASU and end Troy's 18-game home winning streak, which was the longest in the nation.
"I really liked what I saw out of the team this weekend," ASU head coach Tommy Raffo said. "I know the results was just one win, but the passion, the want and the effort was their all weekend and that was encouraging."
ASU broke the game open in the third inning, scoring three runs on four hits and one error in the frame. The Red Wolves batted around in the inning and forced Troy to use three pitchers to the inning. Ryan Roberts drove in the first run of the inning on an RBI single to push the lead to 6-0.
Dustin Jones reached on a muffed ball by Troy first baseman Trae Santos on what would have been the second out of the inning, but instead the error allowed Roberts to move to third and Jones moved into scoring position a walk.
After a walk to Collin Massanelli to load the bases, Troy relief pitcher was called for balk and then threw a wild pitch to plate the next two runs for the Red Wolves. Ryan Emery then collected his third hit and RBI of the game to make the lead a nine run advantage. Following another pitching change, Logan Uxa had a two-RBI single for final two runs of the inning for ASU.
In all, 11 hitters came to bat for ASU in the inning, six runs were scored, two walks were issued, two wild pitches were thrown and a balk and an error were issued to the Trojans in the inning.
Kevin Fitzpatrick added to the lead in the fourth inning by hitting his first career home run. The freshman from Red Banks, Miss., hooked a ball just inside the left field pole for the first home run of his collegiate career. Jones and Massanelli each scored on the home run to make it a 14-1 advantage for the Red Wolves.
Troy made things interested by scoring 10 runs over the fifth and sixth innings to cut the Red Wolves lead to 14-11, but Roberts ended the string of 10 runs scored unanswered with a solo home run to left to lead off the sixth inning to give the Red Wolves a 15-11 cushion.
Arkansas State scored two runs in the first inning when the first four Red Wolves all reached base. Massanelli started the game with a walk, while Fitzpatrick and Emery followed with a pair of singles. Claude Johnson drove in Massanelli on a swinging bunt out in front of home plate and Massanelli avoided the tag for the game's first run.
Stuart Levy drove in another run on what could have been a potential inning ending double play, but the throw to second base from Troy third baseman Logan Pierce was wide and Johnson slide into second base safely, which allowed Emery to score easily from third to give ASU and early 2-0 advantage.
A-State added to its lead in the second inning thanks to timely hitting again from top of the lineup. Alex Potts and Massanelli each reached on singles and Fitzpatrick drove in Potts with a ground rule double to left centerfield. Emery followed with a two-RBI single to push the lead to 5-0.
Emery collected his 29th, 30th and 31st RBIs of the season with the single and he is now just seven away from tying the ASU career RBI record of 139 which was set by Todd Baumgartner.
Through the first four innings, the first three hitters in the Arkansas State lineup were a combined 7-for-8 with nine runs scored, seven RBIs and reached base a combined 11 times.
Owen earned the win for ASU, moving his record to 2-1 on the year, while Fitzpatrick finished the game 3-for-5 with four runs scored, four RBIs and a home run. Emery was 4-for-6 with three RBIs, while Uxa and Roberts each had two RBIs.
A-State will return home for its final regular season series of the season May 16-18 against UALR. Thursday and Friday night's games will begin at 6:30 p.m., while Saturday's game, which will be televised by the Sun Belt Network, will start at 4 p.m.