Jonesboro, AR (A-State) – Arkansas State scored two runs in the seventh inning, while Coulton Lee and Tyler Zuber combined to shut the door in the eighth and ninth innings to lead A-State to a 4-3 victory over Troy Saturday evening at Tomlinson Stadium.
A-State (14-20, 5-12 SBC) trailed 3-2 through six innings, but rallied for two runs in the seventh to earn the comeback victory. Tanner Ring drove in the tying with a 1-out fielder’s choice and Garrett Rucker gave the Red Wolves’ the lead with a double down the right field line that scored Ty White to his squad ahead 4-3.
Coulton Lee, who entered the game in the sixth inning, got one out in the eighth inning and then gave way to Tyler Zuber who earned his first save of the season by closing the game’s final 1.2 innings to end an eight-game losing skid.
Rucker led Arkansas State at the plate with a 2-for-3 night that included a solo home run in the second inning and the game-winning RBI in the seventh.
Lee earned the victory to improve to 4-3 on the year after relieving Bryan Ayers in the sixth inning. Lee tossed 2 1/3 innings with three strikeouts. Zuber entered the game with one out in the eighth inning and gave up just one hit for his first save of the season.
Ayers needed 100 pitches to get through five innings and loaded the bases in the third and fourth innings. He escaped the third inning unharmed after getting a double play ball to end the frame, but ran into trouble again in the fourth when A-State failed to turn another double play that would have ended the inning.
Matt Sanders reached on a fielder’s choice after the throw from Neil Lambert pulled Matt Burgess off the bag and allowed Sanders to reach safely. Following a single, Ayers was called for a baulk to move the runners into scoring position and then gave up a single to Chase Smartt to score both runs and give Troy a 2-1 lead.
The Trojans added another run in the sixth inning when Brandon Lockridge drove in a run on a sacrifice fly to push the lead to 3-1.
Arkansas State got a run back in the bottom half of the inning when Jeremy Brown drove in a run on a fielder’s choice with the bases loaded to get within a run. The Red Wolves caught an unlucky break, however, when Burgess made the final out of the inning with runners on the corners on a hard hit ball to first base that was caught by TJ Binder to end the scoring chance.
Jake Bakamus and Ty White finished with two hits each, while Ring had a hit and an RBI.
The Red Wolves and Trojans will play the rubber match of the series Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m.