JONESBORO, AR (astateredwolves.com) – The Arkansas State baseball team let a 4-2 lead slip away and allowed the winning run to reach base on an error in a 6-5 loss to Southeast Missouri in nonconference action Wednesday at Tomlinson Stadium in Jonesboro.
SEMO (15-9) left fielder Brendon Neel reached on an error by A-State (10-12) shortstop Jeremy Brown to lead off the eighth inning with the game tied 5-5 and was bunted to second base by Alex Burridge. Neel advanced to third on a fly out to right field and Clayton Evans laid down a bunt single that scored Neel for the go-ahead run with two outs. Reliever Derek Birginske walked another batter, but limited the damage with a strikeout to end the inning.
Tanner Ring was hit by a pitch by Southeast Missouri reliever Matthew Wade when he entered the game in the bottom of the eighth. Wade got the next two hitters to pop up to third and strikeout before he uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Ring to advance to second base. However, Wade induced a ground out to third base from Joe Schrimpf to escape the inning unscathed.
The Redhawks loaded the bases with one out in the top of the ninth, but Coulton Lee entered the game and recorded two strikeouts to quell the threat. The Red Wolves weren't able to muster a ninth inning rally after a strikeout and two ground outs to second ended the game and clinched the 6-5 victory for Southeast Missouri.
Austin Baker led the Red Wolves at the plate with two hits, including his second home run of the season, but A-State only had three other hits in the game. Adam Grantham turned in his second consecutive solid start for A-State by tossing a career-high five innings and allowing two runs (both earned) on three hits with three strikeouts against only one walk. Chandler Hawkins, Birginske, and Lee pitching four innings of relief and gave up four runs, but only one of the runs was earned.
Southeast Missouri took an early lead on two runs on a wild pitch in the fourth inning and a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning before Baker hit a home run down the right-field line to bring A-State within 2-1. The Red Wolves tied the game 2-2 on a SEMO error in the bottom of the sixth. The home team took the lead later in the inning on a RBI fielder's choice by Collin Massanelli and extended the advantage to 4-2 on a Jeremy Brown sacrifice fly.
SEMO wasted little time mounting a response with a three-run inning in the top of the seventh for a 5-4 edge. A-State was able to tie the game in the bottom of the frame on a Matt Burgess sacrifice fly that plated Baker.
The Redhawks' Alex Siddle took the win after tossing an inning and allowing the tying run to score to improve to 2-0. Wade registered his second save for SEMO, while Garrett Gandolfo and Evans each had two hits. Trevor Ezell led SEMO with three RBIs.