A-State set for opening baseball series - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

A-State set for opening baseball series

Sports - ASU Red Wolves (White) Sports - ASU Red Wolves (White)

Game Notes provided by Arkansas State Sports Information


LEADING?OFF: Arkansas State begins the 2015 season with a four-game series against Illinois State at Tomlinson Stadium with game one set for 6 p.m. Friday night. The two teams will play a doubleheader Saturday beginning at 2 p.m., with the series finale set for Sunday at 1 p.m. A-State is 34-32 all-time on opening night and is 4-2 in openers under head coach Tommy Raffo, who begins his seventh season as A-State's head coach. A-State lost three of four games to Illinois State a season ago, but won the last game of the series 14-8.
The games can be heard on 95.3FM The Ticket/970AM KNEA with live audio and video on the Red Wolves Digital Network on AStateRedWolves.com.

A-STATE/ILLINOIS STATE SERIES HISTORY
• These four meetings against the Redbirds will mark the eighth, ninth, 10th, and 11th times A- State has faced Illinois State.
• The first meeting occurred during the 1949 season when Arkansas State dropped a 5-4 decision to the Redbirds to begin the season. Prior to last season's four meetings, the only other times A-State had faced Illinois State was during the 1974 season with the Redbirds earning 6-0 and 3-2 victories over Arkansas State in New Orleans.
• The Red Wolves and Redbirds most recently completed a four-game series last season with 
Illinois State taking three of the four contests. The Redbirds won the first three games by scores of 4-3, 3-2, and 9-7 before A-State won the finale 14-8.
• Matt Burgess hit A-State's only grand slam of last season, and first since Jordan Castaldo did it on May 25, 2011, in the victory over Illinois State as the Red Wolves scored 11 runs in the sec ond and third innings to take control of the game. Ty Michelotti went 4-for-5 on the day, while David Owen earned the win on the mound.

BURGESS, OWEN RECEIVE PRESEASON HONORS
• Junior first baseman Matt Burgess and Junior starting pitcher David Owen were both named to the preseason All-SBC team that was released on Jan. 28. Both playeres were then selected to the College Sports Madness Preseason All-SBC First Team Feb. 7.
• Burgess led the team a season ago with 72 hits, a .313 batting average, and 58 RBIs, with the RBI total ranking second in the SBC and 15th in the nation. Additionally, he was second on the squad in home runs (4), slugging percentage (.422), tied for second in on-base percentage (.390), and tied for third in doubles with 13.
• A year ago, Owen recorded a 4.19 ERA with a team-high 76 strikeouts in 77.1 innings pitched and his strikeout total ranked sixth in the league. He was tied for the team lead in wins with five and held hitters to a .254 batting average, the lowest among A-State starting pitchers.

A-STATE IN SEASON AND HOME OPENERS
• The Red Wolves are 34-32 in season-openers after defeated Miami (Ohio) in last season's 
contest by a score of 3-0 in the first game of a doubleheader. A-State went on to sweep the RedHawks to make it two years in a row the team has opened the season with a series sweep after defeating Bradly in three games in 2013.
• A-State has won 24 straight home openers dating back to the 1991 season.
• Head coach Tommy Raffo is 4-2 in season openers with the wins coming against Texas State (2009), Southern Illinois-Carbondale (2010), Bradley (2013), and Miami (Ohio) (2014). The two losses came from Auburn (2011) and Lamar (2012).

COOL?RUNNINGS
• A-State finished with 63 stolen bases out of 84 attempts a season ago, which was the fourth most in the Sun Belt Conference. The 63 stolen bases were more than double the team's total of 28 in 2013.
• Austin Baker led the Red Wolves with 12 stolen bases, while Lucas Feddersen also reached 
double digits with 10. Throughout the course of the season 14 different players stole at least one base for Arkansas State.

SERIES FINALE PERFECTION
• Last season, Arkansas State was 14-0 in the final game of every single weekend series the team played. The Red Wolves won the final game in each of its 10 conference series and also took the last game against Miami (Ohio), Illinois State, UAB, and Creighton in nonconference action.
• However, A-State was actually 11-1 in Sunday games. The Red Wolves lost to Creighton on 
Sunday in the second game of that series after weather pushed the series start day back to 
Saturday. A-State also played the final game of both UALR series on Saturday. The first series concluded with a Saturday doubleheader to prepare for inclement weather on Sunday and the final series of the regular season always runs Thursday through Saturday.

GET THE BROOMS OUT
• A-State has opened the last two seasons with series sweeps against Bradley in 2013 and Miami (Ohio) last season and will be aiming for its third straight series sweept to open a season.
• Before the last two seasons, Arkansas State had opened a season with a three-game sweep just two previous times against Notre Dame in 1971 and Arkansas-Pine Bluff in 2005.

JUST BROWSING
• Arkansas State's pitching staff led the Sun Belt Conference a season ago in most strikeouts 
looking with 152 for the season, four more than ULM's 148.
• David Owen was third in the conference with 31 batters struck out looking, while Chandler Hawkins was tied for fourth in the category with 27.

WALLACE SELECTED IN MLB DRAFT
• Arkansas State's Bradley Wallace became the second-highest draft pick in Arkansas State history when the Tampa Bay Rays selected him with the 307th pick in the 10th round on June 6, 2014.
• Wallace finished his senior campaign with a 4-5 record and a 4.37 ERA in 15 starts. He led the pitching staff with 78.1 innings pitched and was second on the staff with 69 strikeouts. 
Opposing batters hit just .280 against him and his WHIP of 1.48 was the lowest among any of the Red Wolves' starters. As a junior, HE went 5-2 with a 4.33 ERA and struck out a career best 78 batters. He fanned 12 against Western Kentucky on 93 pitches and also retired 18 in a row during the game.
• A-State has now had a player drafted in each of the last five seasons and Wallace is the ninth player drafted from Arkansas State during the Tommy Raffo era. He is also the 18th pitcher that 
pitching coach Tighe Dickinson has had drafted in his coaching career and the fifth from Arkansas State in four seasons.

WATCH ON THE RED WOLVES DIGITAL NETWORK
• Fans can now purchase a 24-Hour Pass to the Red Wolves Digital Network, the official audio and video portal of AStateRedWolves.com. With a one-time payment of $4.95, fans can watch live video broadcasts of A-State athletic events for 24 straight hours from the time of the purchase.
• The Red Wolves Digital Network offers fans unlimited access to the largest A-State sports video library. Other packages offered by the Red Wolves Digital Network include a one-month deal for the price of $8.95, four months for $29.95, or one year for $79.95.
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