Jonesboro, AR (A-State) – The Arkansas State baseball team couldn’t solve No. 23 UT Arlington starter Jakob Hernandez and took a tough-luck 2-0 loss in the series finale Sunday Afternoon at Tomlinson Stadium/Kell Field in Jonesboro.
Hernandez allowed three hits in seven innings and walked one while striking out nine to improve to 6-0 on the season and give the Mavericks (29-18, 19-5 SBC) their 10th straight Sun Belt Conference victory. Austin Gardner and Daniel James tossed perfect eighth and ninth innings, respectively, to preserve the win with James notching his league-best 13th save to complete UTA’s sweep.
The A-State (22-24, 10-14 SBC) pitching staff was solid in the game as well with Peyton Culbertson allowing just one run in 5.1 innings on four hits with two walks and three strikeouts. The Collierville, Tenn., native allowed an infield single with one out in the bottom of the sixth and issued a walk before being lifted for Brandon Stuckenschneider. Stuckenschneider retired left-handed hitting Will Olson before Tanner Kirby was summoned from the bullpen. However, Kirby allowed a single through the left side that was just out of reach of third baseman Alex Howard to allow the run.
UT Arlington scored its other run in the eighth when Brady Cox led off with a softly-hit double down the left-field line off Tyler Mitzel and two batters later Olson knocked him in. Tyler Zuber came in and retired the final five hitters of the game in order with one strikeout. Culbertson was the tough-luck loser to fall to 4-6 on the season.
The Red Wolves had one major threat in the game when Derek Birginske started a two-out rally with an infield single before Grant Hawkins doubled down the left-field line to advance Birginske to third. Joe Schrimpf walked to load the bases, but Justin Felix struck out on a 2-2 pitch to leave them loaded. The team’s only other hit occurred in the seventh inning when Jeremy Brown grounded a ball through the left side.
Arkansas State returns to action with a three-game road SBC series at Georgia Southern May 12-14. Friday’s first pitch from J.I. Clements Stadium in Statesboro, Ga., is set for 5:30 p.m. (CT).