LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (5/19/16) – The Arkansas State baseball team trailed Little Rock 5-4 going into the bottom of the eighth inning, but the Trojans put four runs on the board to put the game out of reach and claim a 9-4 victory Thursday night at Gary Hogan Field in Little Rock, Ark.
A-State (25-27, 11-17 SBC) trailed 5-4 entering the eighth inning, but saw the Trojans (26-24, 17-11 SBC) push across one run when Hunter Owens safety-squeezed in Ty Gunter for a 6-4 edge. Red Wolves reliever Tyler Zuber, who had entered the game in the sixth inning, gave up a single to put runners on the corners with two outs for the SBC's leading hitter Ryan Scott. Scott was intentionally walked to bring up Dalton Thomas, the SBC's leading hitter in conference games, and Thomas swatted a bases-clearing triple off the wall in center field to put Little Rock ahead 9-4.
Little Rock's Cody Daylor, who recorded the final out of the top of the eighth inning, pitched a perfect ninth inning to record the save for the Trojans.
Cody Jackson took the loss for the Red Wolves after allowing five runs (all earned) in 5.1 innings. Zuber was tagged for four runs, all in the eighth inning, in 2.2 innings, after he hadn't allowed a run through 1.2 innings. Matt McDowell picked up the win for the Trojans after allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits with two walks and two strikeouts in seven innings.
A-State scored first in the game when Jeremy Brown knocked in Tanner Ring in the top of the second inning for a 1-0 edge, but Little Rock quickly responded with a two-run single by Scott in the bottom half to go in front 2-1.
Garrett Rucker tied the game with a RBI single to plate Tony Ortiz in the top of the third and came around to score on a three-base error after LR's center fielder let the ball roll under his glove to the wall. However, the 3-2 advantage for the Red Wolves was short-lived when Zach Baker scored Nik Gifford on a swinging bunt with two outs in the bottom of the third inning to tie the game 3-3. Baker got the infield hit after just barely beating out the throw by A-State's third baseman Jake Bakamus.
Little Rock's Gunter broke the 3-3 deadlock with a two-run home run over the right-field fence in the bottom of the fifth to give the Trojans a 5-3 lead. A-State got within one run at 5-4 in the sixth inning when Matt Burgess scored Rucker, who had led off the inning with a triple, on a RBI ground out to first base.
Rucker and Ty White each had two hits to lead A-State's offense, while Rucker also scored twice. Little Rock was led by Gunter's three hits, while Thomas's three RBIs were the most on the team.
In other action around the Sun Belt that affects A-State's SBC Tournament hopes, ULM leads Louisiana-Lafayette 1-0 in the top of the fifth in a game that was suspended due to lightning. The Ragin' Cajuns and Warhawks will complete the game tomorrow at 4 p.m. before playing game two of the series in Lafayette, La. Georgia State and Georgia Southern were postponed and will attempt to play a doubleheader tomorrow in Statesboro, Ga.