BOONE, N.C. (4/29/17) – The Arkansas State baseball team received a solid pitching effort and plated three runs with two outs in a 5-3 win at Appalachian State Saturday afternoon to even the series with the Mountaineers at Jim and Bettie Smith Stadium in Boone, N.C.
A-State (21-21, 9-11 SBC) starter Bradey Welsh gave up a first-inning run on a sacrifice fly, but the Red Wolves offense struck for four runs in the fourth inning to take a 4-1 advantage. Garrett Rucker singled and Jeremy Brown walked to begin the frame before Alex Howard bunted the pair over. Jake Bakamus then lined a single to left-center just out of the reach of the Appalachian State (18-25, 7-13 SBC) shortstop to plate the first two runs.
A-State loaded the bases with two outs after a single by Drew Tipton and walk by Derek Birginske to set up a two-run double by Joe Schrimpf to push the score to 4-1. However, the Mountaineers were able to cut down Birginske at the plate to get out of the inning.
The Apps got to Welsh for one more run in the sixth inning when pinch-hitter Bradley Davis singled up-the-middle and forced A-State to turn to Tanner Kirby out of the bullpen. Kirby slammed the door shut on the App State threat with back-to-back strikeouts to preserve the 4-2 edge. However, the Red Wolves got the run back in the top of the seventh on a two-out single by Brown to plate Justin Felix, who was hit with a pitch earlier in the frame.
A-State took a 5-2 edge to the bottom of the eighth inning, but the home team hit back-to-back singles to chase Kirby. Tyler Zuber entered and struck out the first batter he faced before a Davis snuck a double down the right-field line to plate one run to put the score at 5-3 A-State. However, Zuber struck out pinch-hitter Matt Brill and got a ground out to end the inning.
Zuber hit a batter after a strikeout in the bottom of the ninth to bring the tying run to the plate, but struck out the final two hitters to clinch the 5-3 Red Wolves’ win and nail down his team-high sixth save of the season. The White Hall, Ark., native struck out five in the two-inning outing to clinch the win for Welsh. Welsh gave up two runs on five hits with four walks against three strikeouts in 5.1 innings to improve to 3-1 on the year.
Grant Hawkins, Bakamus, and Birginske led the Red Wolves with two hits apiece as A-State out hit the Apps 11-8. Eight of the nine players in the lineup had a hit for A-State with the lone starter that didn’t being Felix, who reached twice via hit-by-pitch.
Davis led Appalachian State with two hits and two RBI after entering the game as a pinch hitter. Tyler Stroup had the Mountaineers’ other RBI. Colin Schmid took the loss after allowing four runs (all earned) on eight hits in four innings.
Arkansas State and Appalachian State will play the rubber game Sunday afternoon. First pitch from Boone, N.C., is set for 12 p.m. (CT).