JONESBORO, Ark. (2/20/18) – The Arkansas State baseball team allowed Southeast Missouri to tie the game in the top of the ninth, but Jacob Jablonski was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the bottom half to send A-State to a 7-6 victory Tuesday night at Tomlinson Stadium.
SEMO (0-4) pitcher Ryan Losman walked Kyle MacDonald to lead off the bottom of the ninth and eventually loaded the bases after a sacrifice bunt with an intentional walk and hit-by-pitch to set up Jablonski’s at-bat. Losman then plunked the A-State (2-2) freshman with a 3-2 pitch to clinch the walk-off win for the home team.
Jesse Kutzke earned the victory on the mound despite blowing the save attempt in the top of the ninth inning. Tanner Kirby walked the lead-off batter in the frame before Kutzke sandwiched a pair of strikeouts around a pair of walks to load the bases. Trevor Ezell then hit the first pitch to left field for a double that was misjudged to plate the tying runs to set up the walk-off win.
Tobias Johnson led the Red Wolves with three hits on the night, two of which brought home runs with two outs in the sixth and eighth innings. The first put A-State on top 5-4 before the second gave A-State an important insurance run to go in front 6-4. Logan Andersen was the only other Red Wolves’ player with more than one hit with a pair, including the team’s first triple of the year.
Nate Alberius posted a quality start with 6.1 innings pitched and three earned runs allowed out of four total. The Little Rock, Ark., native struck out two and walked two before giving way to Payton Lannon, who earned his first hold of the season. He pitched a full inning with two huge strikeouts to end the seventh frame after SEMO had runners on second and third with one out.
Southeast Missouri took a 3-0 advantage by scoring a lone run in each of the first three innings. The first was done without a hit in the frame as a sacrifice fly opened the scoring. Wade Stauss homered just inside the right-field foul pole for the second before an infield hit brought home the third.
Jeremy Brown drove in A-State’s first run with a sacrifice fly in the third before a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch by Grant Hawkins brought in another. SEMO tacked on another run in the top of the fifth before Andersen’s triple to center brought home A-State’s third run. Andersen would come around to score on the play to tie it up at 4-4 after an errant throw to third by the Redhawks’ cutoff man, Connor Basler.
Ashton Holyfield tossed the first 3.1 innings for SEMO, while Carlos Vega was on the hook for the loss after allowing an unearned run in the sixth inning before Southeast Missouri came back to tie the game.
Arkansas State returns to action this weekend as it continues its nine-game home stand to open the 2018 season with a three-game series against UAB. First pitch in Friday’s game is set for 6 p.m.