Jonesboro, AR (A-State) – The Arkansas State baseball team was outhit by the New York Institute of Technology 7-4 Sunday afternoon at Tomlinson Stadium/Kell Field, but showed a keen eye at the plate to walk 16 times en route to a 13-5 victory to sweep the season-opening series for the Bears.
A-State improved to 4-0 for the first time since 2013 and just the sixth time in school history with the win. The 16 walks were just two shy of the school record set in 1994 against Arkansas College (now Lyon College). Justin Felix was 1-for-1 with four walks, to tie a school record that was last accomplished by Zach George against Little Rock on May 16, 2015. The Nogales, Ariz., native scored three runs and drove in two runs to give him nine RBI for the weekend.
Tanner Kirby picked up the win for the Red Wolves on the mound after allowing one run on one hit with one walk and two strikeouts in 2.1 innings in relief of Collin Cahill. Cahill lasted 3.2 innings and struck out seven. A native of Conway, Ark., Cahill allowed three hits and four runs, but only two were earned. Brandon Stuckenschneider tossed a perfect seventh inning, while Chase Nix threw two scoreless innings to finish the game in his collegiate debut.
NYIT (0-4) struck first after getting to Cahill in the second inning. The Bears had all three of their hits against the southpaw in the frame and were also aided by a walk and A-State error. However, A-State scored five in the bottom of the inning on only one hit, but sent 11 men to the plate. Alex Howard knocked in the first of his three RBI with a single through the left side to score Felix for the team’s first run. The Bears then made three errors in the rest of the frame to lead to A-State’s other scores.
The Red Wolves added a single run in the bottom of the third when Drew Tipton drove home his first career run with a sacrifice fly to the leftfielder in foul territory. NYIT responded with a single run in the top of the fourth on a Cahill throwing error to cut the home team’s lead to 6-4. However, A-State gave itself some breathing run at 9-4 with a fielder’s choice RBI by Howard and two-run double to right field by Casey Vaughan.
The Bears scored once more in the top of the fifth on a RBI ground out by Robert Fiato after Brandon Dowd tripled with one out. Arkansas State scored a single run in the bottom of the sixth on Howard’s third RBI of the contest, this one a sacrifice fly, to make the score 10-5. A-State added three more in the seventh on an error and two-run single by Felix to set the final at 13-5.
NYIT starter Ben Wright took the loss after he limited A-State to one hit in 3.1 innings, but he walked 10 and allowed nine runs (five earned). Joe Fusco drove in two runs to lead the visitors.
Arkansas State returns to action in a midweek contest at Ole Miss Tuesday, Feb. 21. The game will be broadcast on SEC Network+. First pitch from Oxford, Miss., is set for 4 p.m.