Decatur, GA (A-State) – The Arkansas State baseball team lost in walk-off fashion for the third time this season when Georgia State scored on an infield single in the bottom of the 10th inning Saturday afternoon at the GSU Baseball Complex in Decatur, Ga., to defeat the Red Wolves 5-4.
A-State (10-8, 2-3 SBC) reliever Coulton Lee walked Georgia State (10-9, 1-1 SBC) catcher Joey Roach to begin the 10th inning and Roach advanced to third on a hit-and-run single by Jarrett Hood off of Tanner Ring with no outs in the inning. Ryan Blanton was intentionally walked to load the bases and Ring struck out Jack Thompson for the first out of the inning a batter later. However, pinch-hitter James Clements, after falling behind 0-2, hit a weak grounder between first base and the mound that couldn’t be fielded cleanly to drive in the winning run for the Panthers.
Garrett Rucker led the Red Wolves at the plate with a 2-for-5 effort with three RBIs that included his first career home run in the top of the first inning. Ring also had two hits, while Austin Baker drove in the team’s other run. Starter Adam Grantham struggled through 2.1 innings by giving up three runs (all earned) on four hits with three strikeouts and three walks. Cody Jackson tossed 2.2 hitless innings out of the bullpen, while Tanner Kirby added one scoreless inning for the Red Wolves.
Lee took the loss for A-State after allowing two runs (both earned) in three innings of relief. Hood and Blanton led Georgia State with two hits, with Blanton tying the game in the bottom of the eighth on a solo home run. Marc-Andre Habeck threw 6.2 innings and allowed three runs (all earned) on six hits with no walks and six strikeouts. Habeck retired 14 batters in a row during one stretch but didn’t factor in the decision as Bryce Conley tossed 3.1 innings of one-run ball out of the bullpen to pick up the win.
Arkansas State earned an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first when Rucker left the yard, but the Panthers plated a run in the second inning and two in the third to take a 3-2 advantage. Will Kilgore had a run-scoring single in the second for GSU, while the home team scored on a wild pitch and RBI groundout to take the lead.
Matt Burgess doubled over Blanton’s head in center field to end Habeck’s string of 14 straight retired and was lifted for pinch-runner Tim Seldomridge, who scored on a Baker double down the right-field line to tie the game 3-3.
Frankie Alvarez doubled to begin the visitor’s half of the eighth inning and came around to score on a Rucker single to left field for a 4-3 A-State advantage. Ring singled up the middle later in the inning to load the bases, but a strikeout and pop up ended the frame. Blanton came up with one out in the bottom of the frame and hit a home run over the right-center wall to tie the game and set up extra innings.
The Red Wolves and Panthers conclude the series at 12 p.m. (CT) tomorrow afternoon at the GSU Baseball Complex.