NATCHITOCHES, La. (2/25/17) – The Arkansas State baseball team made two errors and issued 10 walks in a 9-5 loss to Northwestern State Saturday afternoon at Brown-Stroud Field in Natchitoches, La.
The Red Wolves (5-3) began the scoring with an inside-the-park home run by Jeremy Brown that scored Garrett Rucker after he singled with one out in the top of the second inning. Brown hit a ball deep to right-center field that the Demons’ centerfielder couldn’t quite come up with against the wall and the ball bounced caromed past the Northwestern State (3-2) right fielder back towards the infield and right-field line to allow Brown to race all the way around the bases.
It was the Festus, Mo., native’s first home run of the season and first inside-the-park homer for A-State since Feb. 27, 2016 when Joe Schrimpf hit one last season against Saint Louis in the first game of a doubleheader in Emerson, Ga. However, the lead was cut to 2-1 after a fielder’s choice with one out and bases loaded plated a run for the home team.
The Demons took advantage of a Brown error in the bottom of the third to plate three unearned runs off A-State starter Peyton Culbertson. Culbertson also walked two batters in the inning and hit two more to help propel Northwestern State to a 4-2 edge.
A-State got within one run at 4-3 in the top of the seventh inning when Brown tripled to right field to score Justin Felix, who had doubled to begin the inning. However, the tying run was left stranded at third when pinch-hitter J.D. Rainwater grounded out to third and Derek Birginske grounded out to second to end the threat.
However, Northwestern State scored five in the bottom of the seventh on three hits, but was also aided by three walks and an error by A-State. The visitors were able to plate a couple of runs in the top of the ninth on RBI singles by Rainwater, the first of his career, and Drew Tipton to set the final at 9-5.
John Carter Sanner earned the win for the Demons after logging a quality start of 6.1 innings pitched with three runs allowed (all earned) on five hits with one walk and six strikeouts. Kyle Swanson pitched the final 2.2 innings and picked up a save. Culbertson was saddled with the loss after lasting just three innings. The Collierville, Tenn., native allowed four runs (one earned) on three hits and struck out six while walking three. Brandon Stuckenschneider tossed 3.1 innings out of the bullpen, and allowed three runs (all earned) with three strikeouts against five walks.
Offensively, Brown was 3-for-4 and ended the game a double shy of the cycle along with a team-high three RBI. Felix was 2-for-4 with two doubles and Tipton also picked up two hits with a RBI. Spencer Goodwin led the Demons with three RBI despite not picking up a hit with two runs coming home on fielder’s choices and the other on a bases-loaded walk.
A-State and Northwestern State complete the series with the rubber game Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m.