SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (3/22/16) – The Arkansas State baseball team jumped ahead of 10th-ranked Missouri State 5-0 and went ahead 8-7 later in the game, but two grand slams by the Bears proved to be the difference in a 15-11 A-State loss Tuesday night at Hammons Field in Springfield, Mo.
The Red Wolves (10-10) struck first in the contest with a five-run second inning highlighted by a Ty White three-run double down the left-field line. Joe Schrimpf brought home the first run on a single to center field before Neil Lambert singled home the second run. All of that set up White’s bases-clearing two-bagger that set the score at 5-0.
However, Missouri State (18-2) struck back in the bottom of the second with six runs. Two walks and a double put the first run on the board, while a double from Alex Jefferson plated two more runs to bring the Bears within 5-3. MSU got within one on a single that chased starter Peyton Culbertson from the game and scored two more in the frame off of reliever Cody Jackson to take the 6-5 edge.
The Bears extended their advantage to 7-5 on a RBI single by Jefferson, but the Red Wolves responded in the top of the fifth on a three-run bomb by Tanner Ring. Tim Seldomridge walked and stole second before Garrett Huff walked off of Jake Lochner, which caused Missouri State to go to the bullpen for Jake Fromson. Fromson got ahead of Ring 1-2, but the A-State third baseman turned on a pitch and sent it well over the left-field wall for a home run.
Missouri State wasted little time responding with a grand slam by Spencer Johnson in the bottom of the fifth to go ahead 11-8. The Red Wolves got one run back on a wild pitch in the top of the seventh when Seldomridge, who led off the inning with a double, scored. However, MSU swatted another grand slam in the bottom of the seventh inning, this one by Jake Burger, to go ahead 15-9.
The Red Wolves scored the final two runs of the contest in the eighth inning when J.D. Rainwater started the rally with his first career hit, a single through the right side. Lambert walked to set up a White double down the line that scored both runners. However, the deficit remained 15-11 and A-State couldn’t draw any closer.
White and Ring were the only Red Wolves to record multiple hits with two apiece with White driving in a career-high five RBIs and Ring driving in three. The Red Wolves used nine pitchers on the night with Tony Ortiz, J.D. Miller, and Zachary Patterson representing the only hurlers not to allow a run. Collin Nord took the loss and fell to 0-1 on the year.
Three of Missouri State’s pitchers allowed runs in the game, but Jake Fromson earned the win to improve to 3-0 despite allowing four runs (all earned) on four hits. Burger and Johnson each knocked in five runs, while Jefferson drove in three to lead the Bears at the plate.
Arkansas State hosts Georgia Southern March 24-26 at Tomlinson Stadium/Kell Field for its first home league series of the year. Thursday’s and Friday’s first pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m., while the series finale on Saturday will start at 11 a.m.