A-State baseball avoids sweep, routs Old Dominion Sunday
JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Hot bats and an effective bullpen lifted the Arkansas State baseball team to a 12-4 triumph over Old Dominion Sunday at Tomlinson Stadium-Kell Field.
The Red Wolves (16-28, 6-16 SBC) combined for 10 of their 12 runs in the latter half of the contest, plating four in the sixth before dooming the Monarchs (30-17, 13-11) with a six-run eighth. On the mound, A-State got 3 1/3 scoreless innings of relief from Bryce Schares (1-0), who allowed one batter to reach base in his stint.
A-State tallied 10 hits, including three-hit afternoons from Brandon Hager and Brayden Caskey, both scoring a run. Hager also drove in three runs, while Cross Jumper drove in four on his lone hit – an eighth-inning grand slam.
Blake Burris reached base in all five plate appearances, recording a hit and four walks – tying the program’s single-game record for walks drawn. He and Wil French, along with Kody Darcy, led the pack with two runs scored each as all nine hitters in the Red Wolves’ lineup crossed home plate at least once.
Old Dominion recorded five hits and committed two errors, both eventually resulting in runs scored. Kenny Levari went 2-for-5 with three RBIs while Kyle Edwards scored a run on two hits. The visitors used seven pitchers in the contest, with reliever Landen Burch (2-2) taking the loss and allowing four runs on one hit while walking four in 1 1/3 innings.
After recording two quick outs to start the contest, A-State starter Tyler Jeans exited due to injury and handed off to Jake Algee, who ended the inning en route to 2 1/3 innings pitched with three strikeouts.
ODU touched Algee for two runs in the third on a single by Levari, but the Brookland, Arkansas, native stranded runners at second and third with a swinging strikeout.
A-State answered in the bottom half of the frame on a two-out RBI single by Brandon Hager, who plated Burris and extended his on-base streak to 35 games. The Red Wolves then pulled even in the fifth when Allen Grier scored on a sacrifice fly by French.
After Schares retired the side in the sixth, the Scarlet and Black scratched across four runs to take a 6-2 lead. Grier recorded a rare two-run sacrifice fly to center that plated both Darcy and Caskey before a two-out RBI single by French scored John Hoskyn to keep the inning alive. After a walk to Burris, Hager singled in French as A-State sent nine men to the plate in the frame.
Coby Greiner entered with one out and a man on in the seventh, but stranded a runner at third with a strikeout. ODU would get a run back in the eighth after Conover entered with the bases loaded and one out, scoring on a fielder’s choice.
The Red Wolves answered the call once more in the bottom of the eighth, pushing across six insurance runs. Hager roped a one-out double down the left-field line, scoring French before a pitch hit Cail to load the bases. The next pitch pelted Darcy, allowing Burris to touch home and prompting a pitching change for the Monarchs.
Left-handed reliever Joey DeChiaro quickly got ahead in the count on Jumper with a swinging strike and a foul ball, but the A-State outfielder battled back to even the count before launching his first career home run – a 390-foot grand slam over the left-field wall to make it 12-3.
ODU picked up a run with one out in the ninth on a fielder’s choice, but Conover fanned Hunter Fitz-Gerald for the final out and earned his second save of the season.
The Red Wolves conclude their five-game home stand Tuesday, hosting in-state rival and former conference mate Little Rock. First pitch against the Trojans is slated for 6 p.m. on ESPN+. The radio broadcast can be heard on The Ticket Radio Network stations 95.3, 96.9 and 970 AM in Jonesboro, as well as online at 953theticket.com.
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