Brown’s Single lifts A-State to victory in 13 Innings
STATESBORO, GA (ASU) – Arkansas State freshman shortstop Jeremy Brown hit a two-out single to plate two runs in the top of the 13th inning to give the Red Wolves a 3-1 victory over Georgia Southern Friday night at JI Clements Stadium in Statesboro, Ga., in a game that also saw the A-State pitching staff set the school record for strikeouts in a single contest.
Arkansas State (9-9, 2-4 SBC) and Georgia Southern (12-11, 4-3 SBC) played each other to a 1-1 tie through the first 12 innings, but Austin Baker led the top of the 13th off with a double down the right-field line. Baker was bunted over to third by Eric Wilcoxson before Stuart Levy was walked to put runners on the corners with one out. Tanner Ring was hit by a pitch to load the bases, but Joe Schrimpf hit a ground ball to third that allowed the Eagles to force Baker out at the plate.
Brown stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs and ripped a 2-1 pitch into left field to score Levy and Ring to give A-State the 3-1 advantage. Ty Michelotti pinch-hit for Derek Birginske and laced an 0-1 pitch into center field but Georgia Southern's Logan Baldwin made a diving catch to keep the score at 3-1.
Colton Kibler pitched the bottom of the 13th inning and pitched a perfect inning with two strikeouts to clinch the win for the Red Wolves. The two strikeouts were the 20th and 21st of the game for A-State to set a new school record for strikeouts in a single game, breaking the record of 19 set back in 2013 against Bradley. He pitched 4.2 innings and allowed no runs, no hits, and struck out five batters to only one walk as the senior improved to 1-1 on the season.
Tyler Zuber pitched the first seven innings for the Red Wolves and only allowed one run on four hits with two walks and 13 strikeouts, shattering his previous career high of six. Coulton Lee pitched 1.1 innings and didn't allow a run on one hit with no walks and three strikeouts.
Offensively, Brown and Baker each had two hits apiece to account for four of A-State's 10 hits, while Zach George had a single and was hit by a pitch to extend his on-base streak to 35 games.
Georgia Southern only managed five hits on offense, but starting pitcher Evan Challenger was very solid as he allowed one unearned run on five hits with no walks and seven strikeouts in 7.2 innings. Reliever Chris Brown took the loss as he allowed two runs (both earned) on two hits with four walks and five strikeouts in 2.2 innings.
The Eagles were the first team to strike in the game as catcher Chase Griffin hit a home run over the left-field fence to start the bottom of the second inning for the team's only run of the game. Georgia Southern was able to advance runners to third base in the third and fourth innings, but didn't have a runner advance to third the rest of the game.
The Red Wolves threatened in the seventh inning when Baker and Matt Burgess reached on a single and hit-by-pitch to lead off the inning and both were bunted over to second and third by Levy. Baker scored on a passed ball to tie the game at 1-1 and Arkansas State seemed poised to take the lead, but two pop ups on the infield ended the inning.
A-State puts runners on base in each of the extra innings, but couldn't cash in until Brown's hit in the 13th, while Georgia Southern had a scoring chance in the 12th after Kibler hit Hunter Thomas to begin the inning. Thomas was bunted over to second and Baldwin was intentionally walked to put runners on first and second with one out. The plan came to fruition though as Kent Rollins grounded into a 6-4-3 inning-ending double play.
The Red Wolves and Eagles are playing a doubleheader Saturday because of the threat of inclement weather on Sunday. The first game will be played at Saturday's original start time of 1 p.m. (CT), while the second game will begin approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of game one. For the latest on A-State baseball follow the team by logging onto the team's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/astatebaseball and following them on Twitter (@ASTATEBaseball).