JACKSON, MS (3/7/15) – The Arkansas State baseball team fell to UT Arlington 6-4 in both teams' Sun Belt Conference opener Saturday night at Smith-Wills Stadium in Jackson, Miss., after the start time was delayed by almost an hour due to the second game of Belhaven's doubleheader with Middle Georgia State College going into extra innings.
The Red Wolves (7-4, 0-1) trailed 5-2, but rallied in the bottom of the eighth inning after Joe Schrimpf was hit by a pitch and Austin Baker doubled down the left field line after a fly out to put runners on second and third. Tanner Ring smoked a double over the center fielder's head for a double to plate both runners to trim the deficit to 5-4, but was thrown out trying to leg out a triple for the second out of the inning. A strikeout ended the inning and UTA (4-5, 1-0) took a 5-4 lead to the ninth inning.
UT Arlington's Eric Tate led off the top of the ninth with a single off A-State reliever Coulton Lee and later scored an insurance run, the first run Lee has allowed all season, on a pinch-hit single from Tanner Houston. Collin Nord relieved Lee and got the final two outs to keep the score at 6-4 for A-State's final three outs of the game. However, two pop-ups and a strikeout by the Red Wolves ended the game as Colin Tornberg earned his second save of the season for the Mavericks.
A-State starter David Owen took the loss to fall to 2-2 on the year despite registering a quality start. Owen went six innings and allowed three runs (two earned) on seven hits with six strikeouts and two walks. Adam Grantham gave up two runs in 1.1 innings of relief in his second appearance of the season.
Offensively, Ring led Arkansas State with three hits, including two doubles, while Ty White added two hits, including an RBI triple. Baker also recorded two hits, while Zach George was hit by a pitch and had an infield single to run his on-base streak to 28 games.
UTA struck first in the contest with a two-out single in the second inning to take a 1-0 lead, but A-State responded with White's triple that plated Lucas Feddersen to tie the score at 1-1 with two outs in the third inning. The next batter, Schrimpf, lined what looked to be a sure base hit to right field to give A-State the edge, but UTA right fielder Cody Farrell made a sliding catch to end the inning.
The Mavericks added runs in the top of the fourth and fifth innings, both with two outs, to extend their advantage to 3-1 before the Red Wolves started a two-out rally of their own in the bottom of the sixth inning. Ring doubled deep down the right field line with two outs and came around to score on a Stuart Levy single to set the score at 3-2, but Matt Burgess flew out to center field to end the inning.
UT Arlington added one run in the seventh and eighth innings to take a 5-2 lead into the bottom of the eighth inning before A-State mounted its comeback attempt.
The Red Wolves and Mavericks will conclude the conference-opening series with a doubleheader Sunday at Smith-Wills Stadium in Jackson, Miss., with first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m. The second game of the doubleheader will start approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of game one. Fans can follow @AStateGameDay on Twitter for in-game updates.