(astateredwolves.com) – The Arkansas State baseball team lost the rubber game of its three-game set against conference foe South Alabama by a score of 2-1 as the Red Wolves couldn't get the big hit they needed Sunday afternoon at Tomlinson Stadium.
South Alabama (22-11, 9-6 SBC) began the game with a single, but A-State (13-17, 4-10 SBC) starter David Owen struck the next hitter out and got a fly out to center field to get the first two outs of the game. Owen walked Adam Ballew to put runners on first and second base and got ahead 1-2 on Daniel Martinez, but Martinez ended up ripping a double to the right-field wall to score two runs for an early 2-0 advantage.
Those two runs proved to be all USA starter Jared Gates would need as he worked in and out of trouble in several innings, but ultimately only gave up one unearned run on five hits in 8.1 innings. He walked eight batters and struck out nine as the senior left-hander threw 137 pitches. Ben Taylor came in to get the final two outs and record his fourth save of the season and second of the series.
A-State got on the board in the ninth when Gates walked two runs sandwiched around a strikeout of Austin Baker. Taylor entered the game in relief after the second walk and a passed ball allowed Red Wolves baserunners Zach George and Tanner Ring to advance to second and third base with one out. Matt Burgess flew out to center field deep enough to plate George to cut the deficit to 2-1, but Stuart Levy struck out to leave the tying run on second as the game concluded.
Owen tossed eight innings and only gave up two runs (both earned) on six hits with two walks and three strikeouts, but took the tough-luck loss to fall to 2-4 on the year. Coulton Lee and Colton Kibler combined to pitch a scoreless ninth out of the A-State bullpen. Offensively, George reached base four times with one single and three walks, while Burgess knocked in the team's lone run.
Arkansas State loaded the bases in the second, fourth, and fifth innings, but couldn't get the big hit it needed to take the lead. Two of the chances came with two outs and fly outs ended both frames while the opportunity in the second inning saw runners on second and third with one out. However, Jeremy Brown popped up to short for the second out and Baker struck out after George had walked to load the bases.