JONESBORO, AR (astateredwolves.com) – The Arkansas State baseball squad dropped both games of a doubleheader to Georgia State by scores of 5-4 and 6-3 Sunday afternoon at Tomlinson Stadium in Jonesboro.
The Red Wolves (8-8, 1-4 SBC) raced out to a 3-0 advantage over the Panthers (12-6, 2-0 SBC) in the second inning when Matt Burgess knocked in Stuart Levy and Joe Schrimpf, after they both reached on one-out walks, with a double to right field. Lucas Feddersen grounded out to second to advance Burgess to third and he was able to trot home a few pitches later on a passed ball for the 3-0 lead.
Georgia State responded with solo home runs from Ryan Blanton and Matt Rose off A-State starter David Owen to set the score at 3-2 in the top of the third. The Red Wolves were able to plate a run in the bottom half of the inning when Zach George doubled to center field with one out and scored on a Tanner Ring single to left field to set the score at 4-2 in favor of Arkansas State.
The Panthers threatened in the top of the seventh inning after Cam Sperry reached on an error to lead off the frame and was balked to second during the next at-bat. Sperry was bunted to third and scored on an RBI ground out by David Levy to put the score at 4-3. The next inning GSU struck again with a single run. The Panthers led off the inning with back-to-back singles and Justin Jones scored on a Joey Roach sacrifice fly to tie the game 4-4.
Schrimpf singled through the left side to begin the bottom of the ninth for A-State, but was erased on a double play the next batter. Ty White doubled with one out in the bottom of the 10th to put the winning run on again for A-State, but after an intentional walk to George, Ring grounded in to a 5-4-3 double play to end the threat.
Blanton tripled down the line off A-State reliever Colton Kibler to lead off the top of the 12th, but Kibler retired Jones on a foul pop-up to first base for the first out. Collin Nord relieved Kibler and gave up a bloop double to Caden Bailey that barely fell in fair territory to plate Blanton. Nord retired the next two batters to keep the score 5-4, but A-State went in order in the bottom of the 12th as Georgia State won its conference opener.
Owen went 7.1 innings for A-State and took a no decision as he gave up four runs (three earned) on eight hits with no walks and six strikeouts. Coulton Lee went 3.1 innings out of the bullpen and gave up no runs on two hits with one walk and two strikeouts. Kibler took the loss for the Red Wolves as he recorded two outs, but gave up a run on one hit.
Ring led the Red Wolves with two of the team's eight hits, while Burgess led the team with two runs driven in and Ring added an RBI as well.
Georgia State struck first in game two with two runs in the top of the third inning off A-State starter Jon Glidewell. He hit a batter with one out and gave up a single to the next batter before striking out Jones for the second out of the inning. However, he hit the next batter to load the bases and Rose hit a soft line drive into left field to score two runs to give the Panthers a 2-0 lead. Glidewell struck out the next batter to get out of the jam.
The Red Wolves responded in the bottom of the fourth inning after a Feddersen double put runners on second and third with one out. Jeremy Brown attempted to safety squeeze home Stuart Levy but bunted right back to the pitcher Kenny Anderson. Anderson had Levy at the plate, but threw wide of the catcher and it allowed both Levy and Feddersen to score to tie things up at 2-2.
Tyler Zuber came on to pitch the top of the fifth, but two errors in the inning led to two unearned runs for the Panthers. The Red Wolves responded with a single run in the bottom of the inning when George knocked his first home run of the year over the left field fence to bring A-State within 4-3. However, GSU scored runs in the top of the seventh and ninth to put the score at 6-3 and would hold on to win the game by that score.
Glidewell tossed four innings for the Red Wolves and two runs (both earned) on four hits with one walk and five strikeouts. Zuber was the tough-luck loser as he gave up three runs (one earned) on eight hits with no walks and five strikeouts. Cody Jackson gave up a run in one inning of relief. George's home run was one of five hits for the Red Wolves and accounted for their only RBI of the contest.
The Red Wolves return to action Tuesday night in a midweek contest at regional rival Memphis. First pitch from FedEx Park is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.