MOBILE, Ala. (astateredwolves.com) – Matt Burgess' sacrifice fly in the top of the 14th inning brought home the winning run as the Arkansas State baseball team defeated South Alabama 7-6 Saturday night at Stanky Field.
The Red Wolves (19-16, 9-5 Sun Belt Conference) and Jaguars played give consecutive scoreless innings (9-13) before Burgess was as able to drive in Eric Wilcoxson on a long fly ball to left field that scored the run from third easily to give A-State its second win in extra innings on the year.
Tanner Gaines took the win after tossing 6.1 innings of scoreless baseball. He came in the seventh inning with two outs and held the Jaguars (16-18, 6-7 SBC) without a run before giving way to Moran Croft in the bottom of the 14th inning for his sixth save of the season.
A-State trailed to 6-4 going after seven innings, but the middle of the A-State lineup delivered to tie the game in the eighth
Derek Birginske tripled for his first hit of the night to cut the lead to 6-5 in the eighth and he scored on an RBI single from Stuart Levy on a drawn in infield to tie the game at 6-6. South Alabama's closer Brandon Hallford gave up the game tying hit to Levy, but came back to strikeout the next two batters to get out of the inning.
Birginske also made a running catch in the bottom of the ninth in left field to send the game into extra-innings after the Jaguars put runners on the corners.
The Red Wolves manufactured a pair of runs thanks to a couple of defensive miscues in the fifth inning to tie the game at 4-4. Joe Schrimpf reached on an error while trying put down a sacrifice bunt to put runners on second and third with no outs. Arkansas State executed a squeeze play with Dustin Jones who managed to get the bunt down despite nearly falling down to cut the deficit to one run and Eric Wilcoxson tied the game with a sacrifice fly that plated Schrimpf to tie the game.
Jones also made a fantastic defensive play in the bottom half in the inning after getting to ball deep in the hole and making a throw from the outfield grass to get the runner at first. Schrimpf also aided in the defensive effort in the sixth after a ball hit off the heal of his glove, bounced in the air but Schrimpf was able to gather himself and the ball and made strong throw to first to get the out.
Austin Baker's two-run run home run of Kevin Hill in the first inning gave A-State an early 2-0 lead, but Hill settled in after the mistake and retired the next eight he faced. Baker leads the squad with six home runs and is second on the team with 27 RBIs.
A-State starter Chandler Hawkins allowed three runs (two earned) in two innings. He looked good through the first two innings, but ran into trouble in the third inning and gave up three runs before he could record an out.
South Alabama broke a 4-4 tie in the bottom of the sixth inning with a squeeze play and then added a run in the seventh inning on an RBI single by Cameron Cummings to go up two runs at 6-4.
The series finale will be Sunday, April 13 at 1 p.m. at Stanky Field. The game can be heard on 95.3FM The Ticket/970AM KNEA and in the StateZone at AStateRedWolves.com