JONESBORO, Ark. (2/22/17) – The Arkansas State baseball team entered the eighth inning ahead 9-3, but Mississippi Valley State scored seven runs in the frame and held on for a 10-9 victory Wednesday at Tomlinson Stadium in Jonesboro.
Bradey Welsh entered the game to begin the eighth and struck out the first batter of the inning, Jackson Webb, but a wild pitch allowed him to reach base. The Delta Devils (1-4) then rattled off three straight singles as each runner moved up one base to put the score at 9-4 in favor of A-State (4-2). The next two at-bats saw a walk and throwing error to cut the home team’s lead to 9-6 and chase Welsh.
Tyler Mitzel entered the game and Mississippi Valley State’s Caleb Lindsey promptly cleared the bases with a triple to right center to tie the contest. Mitzel recorded two outs on a popped-up bunt and strikeout, but a throwing error by shortstop Grant Hawkins allowed Lindsey to score the go-ahead and winning run.
Pinch-hitter Drew Tipton almost tied the game in the bottom of the eighth, but MVSU shortstop Paul Hamilton made a leaping snag with two outs to rob him of a base hit. Casey Vaughan flew out to the wall in left-center field to end the game in the ninth. Arrington Smith earned the win for Mississippi Valley State with 2.1 innings out of the bullpen after playing first base prior to that. Mitzel took the loss for the Red Wolves after allowing the unearned run to put MVSU ahead 10-9.
A-State jumped ahead early with a two-run single by Justin Felix in the bottom of the first off the Delta Devils’ starter Dustin Stewart, but the visitors scored single runs in each of the second and third innings off Zachary Patterson to tie the game. MVSU took the lead in the top of the fifth by a score of 3-2, but a RBI double by Jeremy Brown and two-run home run by Garrett Rucker, his first of the season, put the Red Wolves out in front by a score of 5-3.
Tyler Zuber entered the game and proceeded to strike out all six batters he faced before A-State tacked on four more runs in the bottom of the seventh to go ahead 9-3. Felix brought home another pair of runs with a double before RBI singles by Rucker and Vaughan.
Brown, Rucker, and Joe Schrimpf led the Red Wolves with three hits each, while Felix drove in four and Rucker knocked in three runs. Freshman Austin Powell registered his first collegiate hit and finished 2-for-3, while Hawkins stole another base to improve to a perfect 8-for-8 on the year.
Christopher McWright led Mississippi Valley State with three hits, while Webb, Smith, and Aaron Barkley all tallied two apiece.
Arkansas State returns to action this weekend for a three-game series at Northwestern State. The Red Wolves will play the Demons in Natchitoches, La., Feb. 24-26 with Friday’s game one set for 6:30 p.m.