JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Arkansas State is one of 289 Division 1 college baseball teams that wished they were in Omaha right now.
The Red Wolves had a great start to 2019 but a catastrophic collapse to end the campaign. They won a series on the road against eventual Sun Belt champion Coastal Carolina, along with a walkoff victory over Super Regional participant Ole Miss.
But A-State dropped 16 of the last 19 conference games to miss out on the SBC Tourney. Head coach Tommy Raffo said that pitching and defense are two of the main areas they’re addressing in the offseason.
“I think the biggest thing for us is to be able to address a little more velocity on the mound. We had some really good pitchers that were able to locate and throw offspeed stuff. But as far as top end velocity, like we’ve had in the past with maybe a Peyton Culbertson, who was drafted in the 8th round by the Marlins and Tyler Zuber, we just didn’t have that type of velocity that we need to have in the Sun Belt. I think Coach Guarno has done a wonderful job, our recruiting coordinator, addressing those needs with Coach Hardy. Enabling the pitching staff now to maybe get more swings and misses in a ballgame, or in high leverage situations to get key outs where they’re easier outs. And then to also make a really big play, I think we’ve done that too in the recruiting process, to shore up our infield defense. We weren’t good on the back end of the season defending the field. Twice as many errors we had compared to the first half of the season, and it just can’t happen. We have to be able to make plays behind our pitching staff in order to win ballgames. We’ve addressed those needs and we’re excited about the young men coming into our program. We’re going to work awfully hard because we want to be playing this time next year.”