Mobile, AL (A-State) – The Arkansas State baseball team left 12 runners on base, including having at least one runner in scoring position in five of the last six innings, and also allowed two unearned runs in a 3-2 loss to No. 28 South Alabama Sunday afternoon at Stanky Field in Mobile, Ala., as the team couldn’t avoid a sweep.
Coulton Lee did well in his first career start as the left-hander tossed five innings and allowed three runs, but only one earned run. The Benton, Ark., native walked three and struck out two, but took the loss to fall to 3-3. Bryan Ayers tossed the final three innings for the Red Wolves (13-18, 4-11 SBC) and only allowed one hit while striking out three and walking one.
A-State’s best scoring chance late in the game came in the eighth inning when Jeremy Brown led off with a single and reliever James Traylor threw a wild pitch before walking Jake Bakamus. South Alabama (25-8, 15-0 SBC) turned to closer Shane McKinley and Tony Ortiz sacrifice-bunted the two runners to second and third before pinch-hitter Garrett Huff stepped to the plate. However, McKinley struck Huff out and struck out the subsequent hitter Ty White as well to preserve the lead.
McKinley walked Joe Schrimpf in the top of the ninth with two outs, but a fielder’s choice ended the game as he picked up his sixth save of the season. Austin Bembnowki earned the win for the Jaguars to move to 4-0 after tossing 5.1 innings and allowing two runs (both earned) on four hits with four walks and five strikeouts. He only allowed one hit after the first inning.
Schrimpf began the scoring for the Red Wolves with a two-run double down the left-field line to plate White and Tanner Ring for a 2-0 Red Wolves lead. Lee stifled the Jaguars over the first two innings, but the home team loaded the bases with no outs and scored on a sacrifice fly and error to tie the game at 2-2.
The Jags scored what proved to be the winning run in the bottom of the fifth after Travis Swaggerty reached on an A-State error by Bakamus at second base. USA bunted him to second, but a pop out from the next batter gave the visitors two outs in the inning and Lee seemed poised to get out of the inning unscathed. However, Danny Martinez singled up-the-middle to drive in Swaggerty.
Ring and Brown led the Red Wolves offensively with two hits apiece, while Schrimpf had the two-run double and also walked three times in the game. South Alabama was led by Brendan Donovan’s two hits and single RBIs from Martinez and Billingsley.
Arkansas State resumes action Tuesday, April 12 at Tomlinson Stadium in Jonesboro with a midweek matchup against Southeast Missouri. First pitch against the Redhawks is scheduled for 6 p.m. SEMO took last week’s game April 5 by a score of 4-2 in Cape Girardeau, Mo.