Jonesboro, AR (A-State) – The Arkansas State baseball team’s pitching duo of Peyton Culbertson and Tyler Zuber only allowed one run, while Garrett Rucker drove in four as the Red Wolves picked up a 5-1 victory over Cincinnati Saturday afternoon at Tomlinson Stadium/Kell Field in Jonesboro.
Culbertson tossed six shutout innings to improve to 2-1 on the year and allowed six hits with five punch outs and one walk. Zuber earned his second save of the season after pitching the last three innings of the contest and gave up one run (earned) on two hits with four strikeouts and two walks. The run was the White Hall, Ark., native’s first run allowed of the season.
Rucker began the scoring with a RBI single in the bottom of the first off Cincinnati (3-6) starter J.T. Perez that scored Joe Schrimpf, but A-State (8-4) couldn’t create any extra damage after Justin Felix was picked off third base on a failed squeeze attempt.
Drew Tipton tripled with one out in the bottom of the third on a ball that the Bearcats’ right fielder A.J. Bumpass had a hard time judging due to the wind and Schrimpf walked to put runners on the corners with one out. Felix fouled out for the second out, but Rucker ripped a triple Bumpass’s head in right field to plate both runs for a 3-0 A-State advantage.
Zuber entered in the seventh with a 3-0 lead and walked the lead-off hitter, but induced a 3-6 double play that saw Schrimpf snag a hard ground ball, touch the bag, then throw to Grant Hawkins for the tag at second. However, an infield single by Eric Santiago kept the inning alive and Jace Mercer doubled down the right-field line to score what would be Cincinnati’s only run.
However, the Red Wolves were able to score a run on a wild pitch in the bottom of the seventh and Rucker drove in his fourth run on sacrifice fly in the eighth to set the final score at 5-1. Zuber retired the final six Bearcats in order to finish the game.
Rucker finished 2-for-3 with four RBI, while Jeremy Brown posted a two-hit effort, including a triple of his own. Schrimpf scored three runs on the afternoon and Alex Howard was 1-for-3 with his fourth double of the season and a run scored. Hawkins was able to steal his 10th base of the season, but was also caught stealing for the first time this year in the game.
Kyle Mottice registered three hits to lead Cincinnati, while Connor McVey added two hits and was busy at third base as he tallied six assists in the contest.
Arkansas State goes for the sweep Sunday afternoon at Tomlinson Stadium. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. where A-State’s Collin Cahill will face Cincinnati’s David Orndorff. Today’s win clinched A-State’s third consecutive series win to begin the 2017 campaign.