Arlington, TX (A-State) – The Arkansas State baseball team got six strong innings from starter Bryan Ayers before Coulton Lee and Tanner Ring combined for the final three innings as the trio pitched a shutout and made sure three, first-inning runs were more than enough to defeat UT Arlington by a score of 4-0 at Clay Gould Ballpark in Arlington, Texas for the team’s first conference win.
Ayers allowed six hits with one walk and five strikeouts to improve to 2-1 on the year. Lee tossed two scoreless innings with a walk and a strikeout to get the game to the ninth. A-State (8-7, 1-2 SBC) put Ring on the mound to begin the ninth and the Mavericks (10-7, 2-1 SBC) put two runners on with one out, but Ring induced a fly out to left and a fly out to center field that Austin Baker made a diving catch on to preserve the 4-0 win for the Red Wolves.
Garrett Rucker and Matt Burgess led the team with two hits, while Joe Schrimpf drove in two runs. Burgess and Jake Bakamus also had one RBI apiece.
UTA’s Austin Gardner didn’t last long as he went one inning and gave up three runs (all earned) on two hits with three walks and no strikeouts. Brad Vassar threw 5.2 solid innings out of the bullpen for the home team to keep the game within reach. Matt McLean had three hits to lead UT Arlington.
A-State started quickly with a hit-by-pitch, single, and walk loading the bases with one out in the top of the first for Burgess and he delivered a sacrifice fly to right field for a 1-0 edge. A walk by Baker loaded the bases again with two outs and set up a two-run Schrimpf single through the left side for a 3-0 advantage for the Red Wolves over UT Arlington.
Arkansas State increased its lead to 4-0 after Baker led off the sixth inning with a triple down the right-field line and scored a couple of batters later on a safety squeeze bunt by Bakamus.
UT Arlington led off the fifth inning with a double and a walk against Ayers to set up a scoring situation, but the Vilonia, Ark., native got a fly out and ground out sandwiched around a strikeout to keep the Mavericks off the scoreboard. UTA advanced runners to third in each of the seventh and eighth innings, but Lee kept them from scoring any runs both times.
Arkansas State returns to action March 15 at Tomlinson Stadium/Kell Field for midweek matchup with Southern Illinois-Carbondale. First pitch against the Salukis is scheduled for 6 p.m.