Jeff Reed – Red Wolves Baseball: It’s Not Always Sunny in the Sun Belt


Jeff Reed Author PageSoon, Arkansas State baseball coach Tommy Raffo will take this Red Wolves’ baseball team to the Sun Belt Conference tournament.

They almost didn’t make it.

The Red Wolves, who started the season 7-3 and had a series victory over Top 10 Louisville, stumbled in mid-season and needed a big stretch run to barely get into the field. With basically no room for error, the Red Wolves won 7 of their final 9 conference games, including 5 of the last six.

Going into the final conference weekend the Red Wolves needed to leapfrog two teams, UALR and Louisiana-Monroe. No doubt a little help was needed.

The UALR series was the easy part. You win that series, you finish in a tie with the Trojans and you have the tie-breaker.

The tricky part was in Monroe, La., where the Warhawks, who had the series advantage over the Red Wolves, were facing rival Louisiana-Lafayette. There is little love between the two schools, one of which refuses to use it whole name and just wants to be known as Louisiana. That does not sit well with the Monroe folks. Arkansas State needed the Lafayette team to sweep the Monroe crew for the final step.

If A-State had won its season finale with the Trojans, the Red Wolves have won six of the last eight series in the rivalry, it would have made little difference. A Lafayette sweep was still needed.

If all of that fell into place, and by now you know it did, Arkansas State would finish a half-game ahead of ULM in the league standings. That half-game was a result of ASU’s early series with Georgia State in reduced to two games because of the weather.

Ahh, the weather. It was not a nice day in Monroe on Saturday.

Scheduled to play two because the weather got Friday night’s game, ULL, which had won the series opener on Thursday, quickly won the first game to clinch the series.

In Game 3, things were looking good for the Jonesboro crew. The Cajuns were up 2-0 through 4 innings when the rains came. Another inning was needed to make the game official. Twice they tried to re-start but couldn’t. Finally, after a 3-hour wait, they concluded.

That 2-0 ULL lead didn’t last long. And the Warhawks led 4-2 going into the 7th when they plated 4 and held on for a 6-4 victory.

ULM coach Bruce Peddie admitted he thought about having the game called but it was not the “ethical” thing to do.

It was the first time a weather call has played in the Red Wolves’ favor. In Raffo’s first season (2009) A-State took 2 of 3 at ULM and wound up a half-game behind the Warhawks in the final standings when ULM benefitted from a rainout.

And in 2012, the Red Wolves had a shot at the regular season title, but a game between Florida Atlantic and Florida International was rained out and left the team a half-game from the title.

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Jeff Reed is editor of

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JONESBORO, Ark.  –The Arkansas State baseball team earned the eighth in the 2015 Sun Belt Conference Baseball Championship and will take on the top seed, South Alabama, at 12:30 Wednesday at Riddle-Pace Field in Troy, Ala., the league announced Saturday night.

A-State finished the regular season with a 25-28 mark with a 12-17 record in Sun Belt Conference games.  The Red Wolves lost to UALR 4-3 in their regular-season finale Saturday afternoon at Tomlinson Stadium, but were able to clinch the eighth seed by virtue of ULM getting swept by Louisiana-Lafayette in a doubleheader.

South Alabama earned the regular-season conference championship with a 19-9 mark in SBC games with an overall record of 34-19.  The winner of Wednesday’s first-round matchup between the Red Wolves and Jaguars will face the winner between fourth-seeded Georgia Southern and fifth-seeded Georgia State.   The loser of the A-State/South Alabama game will play the loser between the Eagles and Panthers.

The Red Wolves secured a berth in the conference tournament for the sixth straight year and ended SBC play with wins in seven of their last nine conference contests.

All of Arkansas State’s games can be heard locally on 95.3 FM The Ticket/970 AM KNEA and also for free on the Red Wolves Digital Network on  All games will be available via webstream on  All weekend games, including Sunday’s championship, will be aired live on ESPN3.

Championship festivities get underway on Tuesday night with Championship Family Night, a celebration of this season’s accomplishments both on and off the field for the student-athletes in attendance. There will be a home run derby, autograph session and much more for those in attendance.

2015 Sun Belt Conference Tournament Seeds (Season Record)

1. South Alabama (34-19, 19-9 SBC)

2. Troy (30-23, 18-10 SBC)

3. UL Lafayette (34-20, 18-11 SBC)

4. Georgia Southern (30-25, 18-12 SBC)

5. Georgia State (29-25, 15-13 SBC)

6. Texas State (22-30-1, 14-16 SBC) *

7. UT Arlington (23-30, 14-16 SBC)

8. Arkansas State (25-28, 12-17 SBC) **

* – Texas State and UT Arlington finished tied with identical 14-16 Sun Belt records. The first tie-breaker looks at the head-to-head results of the two tied teams and Texas State took two-of-three from UTA in the final conference series, thus giving the Bobcats the No. 6 seed.

** – UALR and Arkansas State finished tied with identical 12-17 Sun Belt records. The first tie-breaker looks at the head-to-head results of the two tied teams and Arkansas State took two-of-three from UALR in the final conference series, thus giving the Red Wolves the eighth and final seed in the tournament.

2015 Sun Belt Conference Tournament Schedule

Wednesday, May 20

Game 1:               9:00 a.m.              No. 4 Georgia Southern vs. No. 5 Georgia State

Game 2:               12:30 p.m.           No. 1 South Alabama vs. No. 8 Arkansas State

Game 3:               4:00 p.m.             No. 3 UL Lafayette vs. No. 6 Texas State

Game 4:               7:30 p.m.             No. 2 Troy vs. No. 7 UT Arlington

Thursday, May 21

Game 5:               9:00 a.m.              Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2

Game 6:               12:30 p.m.           Loser Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4

Game 7:               4:00 p.m.             Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2

Game 8:               7:30 p.m.             Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4

Friday, May 22

Game 9:               3:00 p.m.             Winner Game 5 vs. Loser Game 7

Game 10:             6:30 p.m.             Winner Game 6 vs. Loser Game 8

Saturday, May 23

Game 11:             9:00 a.m.              Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 9

Game 12:             12:30 p.m.           Winner Game 8 vs. Winner Game 10

Game 13:             4:00 p.m.             *Winner Game 11 vs. Loser Game 11

Game 14:             7:30 p.m.             #Winner Game 12 vs. Loser Game 12

* Game 13 is necessary if the winner of Game 9 also wins Game 11.

# Game 14 is necessary if the winner of Game 10 also wins Game 12.

Championship Sunday, May 24

Game 13:             1:00 p.m.             Winner Game 11/13 vs. Winner Game 12/14 (ESPN3)

NOTE: All games are Central Time and are Subject to Change without Notice

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