CARBONDALE, IL (ASU) — The Arkansas State baseball team sat through two lightning delays, erased a four-run deficit and produced timely hitting late in the game in a 10-8 victory over Southern Illinois Wednesday afternoon at Itchy Jones Stadium.
The game was delayed twice by lightning and took 5:10 to play, but the Red Wolves endured all of it to come away with the victory. With the victory A-State improved to 14-17 with the win, while Southern Illinois fell to 5-27 overall.
With the game tied at 8-8 in the eighth inning Matt Burgess drove in Austin Baker with a single down the fight field line to give A-State a one-run lead. Collin Massanelli drove in Stuart Levy later in the frame to make it a 10-8 game.
With Jeremy Brown at the plate with a 0-1 count a lightning strike occurred within a 10-mile radius forcing the game into its second delay that lasted for over an hour. When the game resumed, Brown grounded out on the first pitch he saw to end the top half of the inning.
Colton Kibler came back out to pitch the bottom of the eighth after entering the game in the seventh before the delay and sat down the side in order. He returned in the ninth and got the first two he faced, before allowing the next two hitters to reach. He battle back and got Greg Lambert to strikeout for the final out of the game send the Red Wolves back home with a victory.
Kibler (2-1) pitched the final three innings in relief and struck out five. Coulton Lee and Tanner Kirby each tossed an inning of relief, while Chandler Hawkins threw 1.2 innings in relief of Derek Birginske who went the first 2.1.
The Red Wolves jumped out to a 3-1 lead after the first two innings, but Birginske ran into trouble in the third. The inning began to unravel for when he walked Tyler Rolland to load the bases with no one out in the inning and before the junior right-hander threw his next pitch he was called for a balk that drove in the first Salukis run of the frame.
Birginske got a groundball out that produced the second run of the inning but failed to record another out and issued an RBI single to Parker Osborne that tied the game at 3-3.
Hawkins came on in relief and got the first batter he faced but gave up a pair of RBI singles before getting a fly ball out to Baker in center to end the frame. In all, the Salukis scored five runs on five hits in the inning.
The Red Wolves wasted little time in responding, however, and plated four runs in the top of the fourth inning to take the lead back at 8-6. The inning started with a walk, hits batsman, a fielder's choice and another walk to load the bases.
Lucas Feddersen drove in the first run of the inning with an RBI single through the left side of the infield, while Austin Baker drew a bases loaded walk in the next at-bat. Matt Burgess followed with an RBI single through the right side of the infield to tie the game at 6-6. Levy was then hit-by-a-pitch to drive in the inning's fourth run and give A-State a 7-6 lead.
Feddersen went 3-for-5 on the day with two runs and an RBI, while Burgess had a pair of hits and two RBIs to his credit.
The Red Wolves added to their lead in the sixth when Baker scored on a fielder's choice by Ty White to push the lead to 8-6. Baker led-off the inning with a double into right field and moved to third on a groundout by Burgess. He was narrowly tagged out when Levy hit a hard ball to the third baseman that elected to try and tag out Baker who was trying to get back to the bag and did before the Saluki infielder could apply the tag.
Arkansas State grabbed an early lead with three runs in the first inning. Zach George extended the nation's longest on-base streak to 48 games with a leadoff walk. He later came around to score on a wild pitch by Connor McFadden and Ty White drove in a pair of runs with 2-run double into right field that scored Baker and Feddersen.
The Red Wolves return to action Friday, April 10 for a Sun Belt Conference clash at Troy. First pitch from Troy, Ala., is set for 6 p.m. For the latest news and information on A-State baseball follow the team by logging onto the team's Facebook page at