JONESBORO, AR (ASU) – The Arkansas State baseball team couldn't overcome the Illinois State pitching staff as the Red Wolves only managed to earn two base hits in a 3-0 loss to open the 2015 season Friday night at Tomlinson Stadium.
A-State's pitching staff only allowed three hits to the Redbirds (1-0), but six walks proved to be costly as the visitors scored two runs on a hit-by-pitch and RBI groundout in the top of the sixth inning to take a 3-0 lead after the Red Wolves (0-1) walked the bases loaded.
Arkansas State advanced a runner to scoring position in each of the next three innings with the best scoring chance proving to come in the bottom of the eighth. After a quick two outs, Zach George was hit by a pitch to extend his on-base streak to 20 games and Stuart Levy followed with a bunt single down the third base line to give A-State runners at first and second. However, Matt Burgess grounded out to second to end the threat.
The Red Wolves went in order in the bottom of the ninth as Illinois State's Steve Heilenbach earned the save after pitching three scoreless innings and only allowing one hit to close the game. Will Headean secured the win for the Redbirds after throwing six strong innings as he allowed one hit with three walks and six strikeouts.
David Owen pitched five innings and only gave up three hits, but walked five to go along with a game-high eight strikeouts. Coulton Lee finished the game with four strong innings after he allowed no hits with no walks and five strikeouts. Tanner Ring registered A-State's only other hit of the evening with a leadoff double in the bottom of the fifth inning, but was left stranded.
The Red Wolves and Redbirds continue the season-opening series with a doubleheader Saturday, Feb. 14. The first game is scheduled to begin at 2:00 p.m. with the second game set to begin approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of game one.
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