CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (4/5/17) – The Arkansas State baseball team and Southeast Missouri were tied 2-2 going into the bottom of the seventh, but A-State allowed four runs in back-to-back innings to drop a 10-4 midweek contest to the Redhawks at Capaha Field in Cape Girardeau.
A-State (15-14) reliever Chase Nix walked the first batter of the bottom of the seventh before failing to get the out at second on a sacrifice bunt attempt to allow the first two Southeast Missouri (15-12) batters to reach base. A passed ball allowed the runners to advance and Tyler Zuber was brought in with a 3-2 count to Dan Holst.
Zuber threw two strikes that Holst fouled off before walking him and then allowed single to Tristen Gagan that was just out of the reach of Jeremy Brown at second base to score the go-ahead run. Brian Lees doubled home two more before a RBI ground out set the score at 6-2 in favor of the Redhawks after the inning.
However, the Red Wolves battled back to within 6-4 on run-scoring singles by Garrett Rucker and Justin Felix with one out in the top of the eighth. SEMO turned to Carlos Vega out of the bullpen with the go-ahead run at the plate and Vega struck out Brown and Jake Bakamus to escape the jam.
Derek Birginske entered to pitch the bottom of the eighth, his first appearance on the mound this season, and allowed four runs, though only one was earned, as Southeast Missouri pushed the lead to 10-4. Vega allowed a two-out, pinch-hit single to J.D. Rainwater, but nothing else in the ninth as he earned his third save of the season. The right-handed reliever struck out four of the six batters he faced as he closed the win for Jared Waldhoff.
Nix took the loss for the Red Wolves after allowing three runs (all earned) on one hit with two walks. Starter Collin Cahill tossed 4+ innings and gave up one run on two hits with three walks and six punch outs.
Joe Schrimpf, Rucker, and Felix paced the A-State offense with two hits apiece, while all three had at least one RBI. Clayton Evans and Chris Caffrey, who pinch hit in the game, had two hits each for the Redhawks, while Caffrey drove in three runs.
The two teams couldn’t push across any runs the first three innings, but Felix put the Red Wolves on the board with a two-out double, that was the team’s first hit of the game, to score Rucker, who walked in the previous at-bat.
Cahill walked the first two batters of the fifth inning after tossing four shutout innings and left the game with Brandon Stuckenschneider relieving him. A runner was thrown out trying to advance to third for the first out of the inning, but a walk and wild pitch put runners on second and third. Holst doubled to deep center on a ball that glanced off Rucker’s glove to score one run, but an 8-6-2 relay throw stopped the go-ahead run from scoring. However, a passed ball allowed the go-ahead run to score for the Redhawks to take a 2-1 advantage into the sixth inning.
Arkansas State returns to action in a Sun Belt Conference series this weekend, April 7-9, at home against Georgia State. First pitch for Friday’s game against the Panthers at Tomlinson Stadium is set for 6:30 p.m. Saturday’s contest is also slated for a 6:30 p.m. first pitch and will be broadcast on ESPN3. The series finale on Sunday will be at 1:00 p.m.