JONESBORO, Ark. (3/11/15) – The Arkansas State baseball team scored the final three runs of the game, but couldn’t complete the comeback as the Red Wolves dropped a nonconference contest to Missouri State Wednesday at Tomlinson Field by a score of 6-3.
The Red Wolves (8-6) entered the bottom of the eighth inning down 6-0, but pinch-hitter Eric Wilcoxson led off the inning with an infield base hit and Joe Schrimpf followed with a single to right-center field to put runners on the corners with no outs. Stuart Levy followed with a soft line drive to right field to plate Wilcoxson and, after a strikeout, Matt Burgess grounded out to second to score Schrimpf to put the score at 6-2. However, Missouri State (9-4) reliever Sam Perez was able to get pinch-hitter Collin Massanelli to ground out to end the threat.
Arkansas State’s Zach George doubled to the right-center field gap with one out in the bottom of the ninth and scored on Wilcoxson’s two-out single up the middle to set the score at 6-3. However, the Bears’ reliever Bryan Young, who had entered the game to begin the inning, was able to get Schrimpf to fly out to center field on a full-count pitch to end the game.
Perez earned the victory for Missouri State and improved to 2-1 after tossing 3.1 innings of relief for starter Jordan Knutson. Perez gave up two runs (both earned) on three hits with two strikeouts and one walk. A-State starter Chandler Hawkins took the loss to fall to 1-3 as the senior left-hander threw 5.1 innings and allowed four runs (all earned) on three hits with five strikeouts and two walks.
Offensively, George led the Red Wolves at the plate with three hits, including a double, and a walk, while Tanner Ring and Wilcoxson, who pinch hit for Ring in the bottom of the eighth, both collected two hits apiece. Wilcoxson, Levy, and Burgess drove in A-State’s runs as the Red Wolves outhit the Bears 11-6 in the game. Jake Burger was 2-for-4 with three RBIs to lead Missouri State.
The Bears struck first in the game in the top of the second when Hawkins allowed a two-out single and walked a batter in consecutive at-bats to open the door for Cory Kay’s double that scored both runners.
Missouri State tacked onto its lead in the top of the sixth after a lead-off double, sacrifice bunt, and walk ended Hawkins’ day. Colton Kibler came in the game, but walked the first guy he faced to load the bases and gave up a two-run double to Burger to put the score at 4-0. Missouri State added another run on a RBI ground out to take a 5-0 edge later in the inning. The Bears added another run in the top of eighth inning on another double from Burger for a 6-0 advantage.
After Kibler exited the game, the A-State bullpen of Cody Jackson, Tanner Kirby, Collin Nord, and Bo Ritter combined to pitch the final three innings and only gave up an unearned run on two hits with no walks and one strikeout.
The Red Wolves return to action Friday, March 13 at 6 p.m. as the team welcomes Georgia State to Tomlinson Stadium for its first home Sun Belt Conference series of the season. Tickets can be purchased online at tickets.astate.edu or by calling the A-State Ticket Office at 1-888-ASUFANS. For the latest on A-State baseball follow the team by logging onto the team’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/astatebaseball and following them on Twitter (@ASTATEBaseball).