SAN MARCOS, Texas (3/31/17) – The Arkansas State baseball team was able to mount a comeback in the first game of a doubleheader versus Texas State for a 13-7 win, but couldn’t do the same in a 16-7 setback in game two as the Red Wolves earned a split at Bobcat Ballpark in San Marcos, Texas.
A-State (13-13, 3-5 SBC) fell behind Texas State (17-10, 6-2 SBC) by a score of 4-0 after the Bobcats scored four unearned runs in the bottom of the first, but A-State mounted a comeback that began with Garrett Rucker’s two-run bomb that hit the batter’s eye behind the center field fence in the top of the fourth.
The Red Wolves got within one on a hard-luck RBI fielder’s choice by Jake Bakamus. Bakamus hit a soft line drive into right-center field with the bases loaded and one out, but Jeremy Brown had to hold up to see if the ball would be caught and was forced out at second with Joe Schrimpf able to score. A-State took the lead at 5-4 on the next batter when Alex Howard hit a double to right-center field to score Justin Felix and Bakamus.
Arkansas State continued to tack on runs with four two-out runs to extend the advantage to 9-4 with the first two coming on a Felix single through the left side. The next two came home when Texas State reliever Joe Powell hit Howard and Tobias Johnson with the bases loaded. A-State kept pouring it on with a run on an error in the top of the eighth inning before a monster two-run round-tripper by Felix put the score at 12-4 in favor of the Red Wolves.
The Bobcats added two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to get within 12-6, but Drew Tipton hit a solo shot to left field in the top of the ninth to keep A-State in front 13-6. Tanner Kirby allowed a run in the bottom of the ninth on a RBI single by Jared Huber, but nothing else to clinch the 13-7 win for A-State.
Kirby finished the game with 3.2 innings out of the bullpen to earn his second save of the season. The Maumelle, Ark., native allowed three runs (all earned) on four hits with five punch outs against two walks. Bo Ritter earned the win with 3.1 innings in relief of starter Bryan Ayers. Ritter allowed no runs on two hits with four walks and no strikeouts.
Felix went 2-for-4 with four RBI and three runs scored to pace the offensive effort for the Red Wolves, while Schrimpf tallied two hits and tied a career high with four runs. Rucker also had two hits, while Howard tied his season high with three RBI.
Texas State starter Connor Reich took the loss after allowing six runs on six hits with three walks and seven strikeouts. Luke Sherley led the Bobcats’ offense with three hits and two RBI.
Game two was not as kind to the Red Wolves as Texas State pushed across three runs against Peyton Culbertson in the bottom of the first on a bases-loaded walk and two-run single. A-State scored one in the top of the second on a bases-loaded walk by Grant Hawkins, but the home team scored a run in the bottom of the inning and added four more in the third inning to take a commanding 8-1 edge.
Felix scored on a passed ball to make the score 8-2 in the top of the fifth, but the Bobcats plated four runs in the bottom of the inning for a 12-2 advantage. Texas State added three runs in the bottom of the seventh to go in front 15-2 with two of the three runs being unearned.
A-State put up a five spot in the top of the eighth with Schrimpf and Bakamus hitting two-run doubles to highlight the frame as the Red Wolves cut the deficit to 15-7. However, the Bobcats added another run in the bottom of the eighth to set the final score at 16-7.
Culbertson only lasted three innings and gave up eight runs (six earned), while Zachary Patterson gave up four runs in one-plus innings of work. Chase Nix pitched the final four innings and allowed four runs with two only being earned. Bakamus led the team with three hits, while Derek Birginske and Brown had two apiece.
Texas State starter Wes Engle only lasted 4.2 innings and couldn’t earn the win despite the big lead after allowing five hits and walking eight. Reliever Brandon Courville earned the win with 3.1 innings, while Derek Scheible and Ryan Newman had three hits each with Scheible leading the home team with four RBI.
The two teams will play the rubber game tomorrow at 1 p.m., after electing to play a doubleheader today in an effort to beat the threat of rain Saturday and Sunday.