SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AStateRedWolves.com) – Arkansas State scored a run in the top of the ninth inning but fell one run short in a 5-4 loss to Missouri State Wednesday at Hammons Field, the home of the St. Louis Cardinals minor league baseball affiliate team.
Trailing by two runs, Tyler Hardie led off the top of the ninth inning with a single through the right side and Dustin Jones doubled down the left field line to put runners on second and third with one out. Austin Baker drove in Kaleb Brown, who had come on to pinch-run for Hardie, with a groundout to first and moved the tying to third base.
Lucas Feddersen followed and turned on the first pitch he saw, but Missouri State's Eric Cheray made a play on the ball at second base and threw out Feddersen to end the game.
A-State (14-11) plated three runs in the top half of the first inning thanks to an ineffective outing from the Bears' starting pitcher Jordan Knuston who threw two wild pitches, gave up two hits and issued two talks to give the Red Wolves an early 3-0 advantage.
Knuston struggled from the start, giving up a 1-out single to Baker, a four-pitch walk to Feddersen and threw a wild pitch that allowed to the pair to move to second and third. Tanner Ring drove in Baker with a single and Feddersen later scored on Knuston's second wild pitch of the inning the push the lead to 2-0.
Matt Burgess scored later in the inning on a sacrifice fly by Joe Schrimpf and Knuston then hit Tyler Hardie with a pitch to load the bases, which signaled the end of his night.
Sam Perez came in of relief and silenced the Red Wolves bats from that point forward. Perez got Kevin Fitzpatrick to groundout to end the threat in top of the first and then scattered four hits across 8 1/3 innings to earn his first career victory.
Bryan Ayers gave a strong effort in relief for the Red Wolves, giving up just one hit across four innings with four strikeouts. The freshman retired the first seven hitters he faced and did not issue a walk.
The Bears took the lead in the second inning by scoring four runs on four hits off A-State starter Adam Grantham. Matt Fultz led off the inning with a solo home run to right field and then Conor Smith followed with a two-RBI double to tie the game. Missouri State took the lead on an RBI groundout by Patrick Drake that scored Smith and the Bears' never trailed again.
Missouri State added to its lead with a run in the third inning to push its advantage to 5-3 and Perez silenced the Red Wolves hitters until the ninth inning.
Neither A-State pitcher issued a walk as the pair combined for six strikeouts and gave up just six hits on the night. Feddersen had his seven-game hitting game come to an end, but did extend his on-base streak to eight with a walk.
A-State will host Texas State for a three-game Sun Belt Conference series March 28-30 at Tomlinson Stadium. Friday night's game is set to begin at 6 p.m., while Saturday's game will start at 4. Sunday's game will begin at 11 a.m. due to the travel arrangements for the Bobcats.
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