Jeff Reed: Future in Balance for Red Wolves, Trojans Baseball Teams

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This one has lots of meaning.

Whichever teams wins the weekend Sun Belt Conference baseball series between the Arkansas State Red Wolves and UALR Trojans has a future.

The loser will have to wait and see.

Going into this week’s three-game series in Jonesboro, the Red Wolves (26-27) and Trojans (26-26) are two-thirds of a three-way tie for seventh in the SBC standings. The third member of the group is Middle Tennessee (28-25). The Red Wolves are now 12-16 in league play and the Trojans fall to 11-17.

Thursday’s game was won by the Red Wolves 3-2. Friday’s game starts at 6:35 p.m. Saturday afternoon the teams meet at 4:06. For the story of game one, click here.

Western Kentucky and and Florida International are two games up on the trio locked at seventh and could fall back into the pack. Western Kentucky travels to Middle Tenn and would have to be swept to fall back.

For ASU, it has the tie-breaker over UALR (although that will not be in play for this series), Middle Tennessee and Western Kentucky. Middle Tennessee also owns the tie-breaker over Trojans.

If you look at history, it does not say much for the Trojans, who had won eight of their last 11 before Thursday’s game and come into this meeting on a better roll than the Red Wolves, who defeated Troy 15-14 on Sunday to end an eight-game losing streak. That victory ended Troy’s 18-game home winning streak.

Arkansas State has now won the last 13 meetings, including sweeping a three-game series in Little Rock in March to open conference play. The Red Wolves lead the series 66-39 and Arkansas State coach Tommy Raffo is 17-5 against the Trojans.

“We need to play pitch by pitch,” said Red Wolves coach Raffo. “It is a big, big series.”

In their eight-game skid, the Red Wolves have lost three one-run games.

For the loser of the series there is still hope for the conference tournament, which begins May 22-26 in Lafayette, La. The top eight teams qualify for the tourney and only Louisiana-Monroe, which won the tournament last year and qualified for an NCAA regional, is out of the running.

The final game on Saturday will be televised as part of the Sun Belt Network. It is available on Comcast and Cox cable systems.

Game notes from both schools are below.

Game Notes Courtesy UALR Trojans

UALR TROJANS (26-25, 11-16 SBC)
ARKANSAS STATE (25-27, 11-16 SBC)

Jonesboro, Ark. (Tomlinson Stadium)
Live stats & video available at

Probable Pitching Matchups

GM1 – Thursday, May 16 – 6:30 PM
UALR – #21 Chance Cleveland • RHP • Senior
5-8, 3.39 ERA, 90.1 IP, 82 K’s
ASU – #36 Daniel Wright • RHP • Senior
5-4, 3.38 ERA, 93.1 IP, 89 K’s

GM2 – Friday, May 17 – 6:30 PM
UALR – #42 Travis McDonald • LHP • Junior
2-2, 3.43 ERA, 39.1 IP, 32 K’s
ASU – #24 Bradley Wallace • RHP • Junior
4-2, 4.17 ERA, 58.1 IP, 67 K’s

GM3 – Saturday, May 18 – 4 PM
UALR – #24 Blake Huffman • RHP • Senior
6-4, 4.04 ERA, 78.0 IP, 62 K’s
ASU – #18 Cody Woodhouse • RHP • Junior
0-1, 3.40 ERA, 45.0 IP, 34 K’s

UALR (26-25, 11-16 SBC) enters the final weekend of conference play in a three-way tie with Arkansas State and Middle Tennessee for the final two spots in the Sun Beltualr trojans baseball readies for the red wolves Tournament, set for May 22-26 in Lafayette, La. … Two wins over the Red Wolves this weekend in Jonesboro would guarantee a postseason spot for the Trojans, while a single UALR win would require three losses by Middle Tennessee, who owns the tiebreaker due to its 2-1 series win against UALR on April 5-7 in Murfreesboro, Tenn. … The Trojans recently dropped two of three at home against FIU, winning a 1-0 pitcher’s duel on Saturday but dropping the opener and finale of the three-game set … Junior Travis McDonald and senior Tyler Buckleycombined for the shutout in Saturday’s win … McDonald surrendered no runs on four hits and just one walk in 8.1 innings … The Sydney, Australia-native then gave way to Buckley, who retired the final two in-order to earn his third save of the season … The UALR offense, which entered the series hitting .314 with 10 homers and 70 runs scored over its previous eight games, hit just .213 with one homer and five runs scored against FIU … UALR begins its final series of the regular season on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. … Originally scheduled for 1 p.m., game three of the series on Saturday has been moved to 4 p.m. and will be televised on Comcast Sports Southeast (CSS) as part of the Sun Belt Network.

Entering the final weekend of the regular season, Arkansas State is 25-27 overall and 11-16 in Sun Belt play … The Red Wolves sat at 14-6 overall and 3-0 in league play after a sweep of UALR at Gary Hogan Field on March 17, but has since won just 11 of 30 overall and 8 of 24 conference games … ASU ranks ninth in the league in hitting (.254) and eighth in runs scored (258) … The ASU pitching staff leads the Sun Belt in strikeouts on the season (451) and is holding opposing teams to just a .257 clip – third-best in the conference … Head coach Tommy Raffo is in his fifth season with the Red Wolves.

ASU swept UALR and extended its win streak against the Trojans to 12-straight earlier this season at Gary Hogan Field to take a 65-39 lead in the all-time series … UALR’s last series win against ASU came in Little Rock to start the 2011 Sun Belt season (March 8-11, 2011) … In its last series win against ASU, UALR dropped the opener but won games two and three in walk-off fashion, including a three-run, ninth-inning rally on Sunday … Head coachScott Norwood is 6-15 all-time against the Red Wolves.

UALR leads the conference and sits in a tie for 37th nationally with 80 stolen bases – 16 more than second-place Louisiana (64) … Junior Ben Crumpton, who led the league in stolen bases a year ago, is leading the Sun Belt in stolen bases again this season with 23 … Junior Austin Pfeiffer ranks second with 17 on the season.

As of May 5, UALR sits in a tie for sixth nationally in total home runs (52) and fourth nationally in home runs per game (1.04) … UALR earned a statistical championship by leading the nation in homers per game in 2012, hitting 66 in 54 games for an average of 1.17 per game … Juniors Austin Pfeiffer and Bryson Thionnet are tied for the team lead with nine home runs each … Pfeiffer’s seven homers in SBC games are tied for third in the conference.

Senior catcher Blake Johnson was one of 41 NCAA Division I catchers named to the initial Johnny Bench Award watch list on March 11 … A First Team All-Sun Belt and First Team ABCA All-South Central Region selection in 2012, Johnson is hitting .297 with 37 RBI, 27 runs scored and seven homers this season … The Sachse, Texas-native has 15 multi-hit games on the season, including four three-hit contests … Johnson has thrown out 12 runners on steal attempts this season, putting him in a tie for fifth-most in the Sun Belt Conference.

UALR’s weekend rotation of Chance ClevelandTravis McDonald and Blake Huffmanhave combined to win Pitcher of the Week honors in three-straight weeks … The Trojans become the first team since 2006 (Louisiana-Lafayette) to take home Pitcher of the Week honors in three-straight weeks, and the first since 1996 (South Alabama) to do it with each of the pitchers in their weekend rotation … McDonald, the most-recent winner, surrendered no runs on just four hits in 8.1 innings of work in UALR’s 1-0 win over FIU on Saturday, May 11 … The Sydney, Australia-native issued just one free base on a walk in the top of the second inning before going on to retire nine-straight batters … After allowing a pair of singles in the fifth, McDonald retired ten-straight FIU batters, ending with a single to start the top of the ninth.

In his short time at UALR, Chance Cleveland is leaving his mark on the Trojans’ record book … With his five strikeouts at Florida Atlantic on Saturday (May 4), Cleveland ranks fifth all-time on the career strikeout list at UALR (180) … Last season, Cleveland fanned 98 batters – good enough for second place on the Trojans’ single-season strikeout list … His 82 K’s through 13 starts this season are good enough for eighth place on the single-season list … Cleveland’s 14 career wins tie him for fifth-most on the Trojans’ career list, while his 3.66 career ERA currently places him sixth all-time at UALR.

UALR topped UCA in extra innings at Dickey-Stephens Park for the second-straight season on Tuesday, May 7 … A year after winning 9-8 on a walk-off, two-RBI single by Cameron Bentley (2011-12) in the bottom of the 10th, UALR used a walk-off two-run homer fromAustin Pfeiffer in the botom of the 12th to win 5-3 in front of 1,391 fans at Dickey-Stephens Park in North Little Rock … The win was UALR’s fifth-straight in their series with UCA.

Junior Ben Crumpton has totaled 47 stolen bases in just two season at UALR, placing him second on the Trojans’ all-time list and 16 back of record-holder Miguel Miranda’s (1998-01) total of 63 … Crumpton’s 18 doubles this season are good enough for sole possession of ninth place on UALR’s single-season list … Senior Blake Johnson’s 15 doubles this season give him 29 for his career, tying him with Matt Apfel (2008-09) for 10th place all-time at UALR … He sits just one double back of matching Terrence Conner (1991-92) for ninth place all-time, and three doubles shy of tying Robert Taylor (2007-08) and Ryan Gotcher (2006-07) for seventh place … Senior Chris Burk has been hit by 29 pitches in two season with the Trojans – fourth-most on UALR’s career HBP list.

Game Notes Courtesy Arkansas State University Red Wolves

LEADING OFF: Arkansas State will close out the 2013 regular season with a three-game Sun Belt Conference home stand against Arkansas-Little Rock. This week’s games will take place on Thursday, Friday and Saturday with Saturday’s contest being show on the Sun Belt Network. ASU is coming off a seven-game road trip and recently ended an eight-game losing streak. However, the win came at Troy and ended the Trojans 18-game home winning streak, which was the longest in the nation.

red wolves baseball takes on the trojansASU is currently tied for one of the final spots in the SBC tournament. The Red Wolves are tied with UALR and Middle Tennessee and a number of scenarios can play out in order for A-State to get into the tournament, but the simplest equation is for ASU to win two games to secure its berth in postseason play.

UALR has won four out of its last seven games, but has lost its last 12 matchups to ASU.

THE STARTERS: Arkansas State will start senior right-hander Daniel Wright on Thursday night. He enters the game with a 5-4 record, a 3.38 ERA and 89 strikeouts on the season. Bradley Wallace will get the call on Friday after his start was skipped last weekend and Cody Woodhouse will get the call on Saturday.

UALR will start senior right-hander Chance Cleveland on Thursday. He is 5-8 on the year with a 3.39 ERA and 82 strikeouts. Left-hander Travis McDonald will get the call for the Trojans on Friday, while Blake Huffman will get the call on Saturday to close out the series.


• This will be the 105th, 106th and 107th meetings all-time between ASU and UALR.

• The first meeting occurred during the 1975 season with ASU taking two games from the

• Arkansas State leads the all-time series 65-39.

• ASU has won 12 straight games against the Trojans.

• ASU swept UALR in Little Rock earlier this season.

• Collin Massasnelli tied a school record with three home runs during the Saturday game of
the last series in Little Rock.

• The Red Wolves have won the last nine games in the series and have won 15 out of the
last 18  matchups with the Trojans.


• UALR is 26-25 overall on the season and is 11-16 in league play.

• The Trojans are averaging  5.9 runs per game this year.

• The Trojans have won four out of their last seven games.

•As a team the Trojans rank sixth in the nation with 52 home runs.

• Chance Cleveland has pitched four complete games this season.

• Ben Crumpton ranks 40th in the nation with 23 stolen bases on the year.


• Arkansas State has multiple scenarios that can play out for the Red Wolves to make the
SBC Tournament. Currently ASU owns the tiebreakers over UALR and Middle

• If ASU wins two out of three games against UALR then it will clinch a spot in the

• If ASU wins just one game, then Western Kentucky must win at least two against Middle

• If ASU losses three games, then Middle Tennessee must also lose three games this


• To Be the 5th Seed: ASU must sweep UALR AND Middle Tennessee must win at least
two games against Western Kentucky AND Florida Atlantic must sweep Florida

• To be the 6th Seed: ASU must sweep UALR AND Middle Tennessee must win two
against Western Kentuckty.

• To be the 7th Seed: ASU must win two games against UALR AND Western Kentucky
must win two games against Middle Tennessee.

• To be the 8th Seed: ASU wins one game against UALR AND Middle Tennessee loses
two games to Western Kentucky…….OR…….ASU loses three games AND Middle
Tennessee loses three games.


• Senior Ryan Emery is closing in on the all-time career runs batted in mark at ASU.

• Emery has 132 RBIs in his career and is 7 away from tying the record, which was set by
Todd Baumgartner with 139 between 2008-11.


• Ryan Emery has shattered  the school record for walks in a career.

• Emery has 137 walks in his career and passed Jerome Stone who had 109 in his career
from 1980-83.

• Logan Uxa has surpassed the mark as well. The senior has totaled 122 walks in his


• Senior Daniel Wright has pitched at least seven innings in each of his last seven starts
this season.

• In has gone at least seven innings in 10 out of 13 games this year and has 7 quality


• Arkansas State scored 15 runs against Troy on May 19 and narrowly escaped with a 15-
14 win.

• The Red Wolves scored 15 runs on 15 hits, which were both season highs for A-State.

• Freshman David Owen sat down Troy in order in the 9th inning in his fifth inning of work
in the win.


• The Arkansas State pitching staff held Troy to just five runs through two games of its
series on May 17-18.

• Troy entered the game No. 3 in the country in scoring, but Daniel Wright held the Trojans
scoreless through 9 innings on Friday and then ASU gave up just four runs on Saturday
before both teams exploded for a combined 29 runs on Sunday.


• ASU will honor its 10 senior baseball student-athletes before the start of Saturday’s
finale against UALR.

• Jacob BaxDrew BurksRyan EmeryJohn KochSeth McWilliamsBrandon Milhouse,
Alex Potts, Ryan RobertsLogan Uxa and Daniel Wright will all be honored in a
ceremony before Saturday’s game.


• The Red Wolves are returning to play the first home game since April 30 when they host
UALR this weekend.

• A-State recently embarked on a seven-game road trip in which they spent 10 out of 11
days on the road.

• ASU played in Lafayette, La. for a three game series May 3-5 and then played at the
University of Tennessee on May 8 during the midweek. The Red Wolves then drove from
Knoxville to Troy, Ala., for a three-game road series versus the Trojans.

• In all, ASU traveled over 2,200 miles, spent over 45 hours on a bus and stayed in six
different hotels.

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