CONWAY, Ark. (AStateRedWolves.com) – Chandler Hawkins struck out career-high 10 and scattered two hits and one run, but Central Arkansas rallied for three runs, including a walk-off single from Brandon Montalvo in the bottom of the ninth to defeat Arkansas State 4-3.
The Bears (22-15) scored two runs in the seventh inning to tie the game at 3-3 and then scored the winning run on a walk-off single from Montalvo in the ninth to end A-State's six game winning streak. Scott Zimmer led off the ninth with a double and then moved to second on a sacrifice bunt before scoring the game's winning run.
Hawkins became the second A-State (24-17) pitcher to reach double-digit strikeouts in a game this season after David Owen had accomplished the feat two times earlier this season.
The junior left-handed pitcher struck out the side in each of the first two innings and retired eight in a row from the end of the first through the third innings. He struck out all three batters looking in the first inning and fanned five looking on the night to give 22 strike outs looking on the season, which is the third most in the Sun Belt Conference.
Hawkins had at least one strike out in every inning and gave up his only run in the fourth inning after issuing a leadoff walk to Chris Townsend, who came around to score on a single by Justin Treece. Otherwise, Hawkins was virtually unhittable and issued his only other hit to the second batter he faced in the first inning.
A-State led 3-1 through seven innings, but the Bears scored a pair of runs off freshman Tyler Zuber in the bottom half of the inning to tie the game at 3-3. Zuber pitched well and struck out four, but gave up a 2-run single to Doug Votolato to deny Hawkins a chance at a win.
Joe Schrimpf scored and drove in a run, both with the use of a bunt. He reached via a bunt single in the fourth inning and advanced to second on an errant throw by the UCA third baseman. He went to third after a balk was called on Bears' starting pitcher Josh Markel and scored on an RBI ground out by Kaleb Brown.
The freshman third baseman also drove in a run in the fourth inning after executing a successful squeeze that brought in Stuart Levy, who began the inning with his team leading 13th double of the year.
Baker went 2-for-4 with an RBI single, while Eric Wilcoxson also 2-for-4 with a double.
The A-State pitching staff combined for a season-high 15 strikeouts.
Arkansas State will return to the road for a three-game Sun Belt Conference series at Georgia State April 25-28. Friday night's first pitch is set for 5 p.m. and the game can be heard on 95.3FM The Ticket/970AM KNEA and in the StateZone at AStateRedWolves.com
For in-game updates follow @AStateGameDay on Twitter and stay up to date with A-State baseball by following the team on Twitter (@AStateBaseball) and Facebook (Facebook.com/RedWolvesbaseball).