Mark West: A-State Red Wolves at UALR Trojans on the Diamond


The Red Wolves make a short trip to Little Rock this weekend to face in-state rival UALR in a three game series to close out the regular season. Arkansas State took 2-of-3 from Troy this weekend, its’ first two wins at home against Troy ever. The Trojans also won their series last weekend at Texas State two games to one.

A-State is 17-11 (after losing the first game of the series in Little Rock Thursday night 5-2) and sits in second place in the conference and can’t finish any worse than third. UALR sits at the bottom of the Sun Belt at 10-18 after the game-one win and needs wins and help to have a shot at making the conference tournament. The Red Wolves are in, its’ just a matter of whether they will be the two or three seed.

My latest projection for College Baseball Central has A-State on the bubble, yet out of the NCAA Regionals. The magic number for RPI is 45 and it doesn’t seem that the Red Wolves can get to that point unless some things really turn their way in the post season. A-State enters this series with a 59 RPI while UALR is at 156.

The teams match-up in a contrast offensively as UALR averages just over five runs a game but tends to rely more on power hitting, especially at home, for run production. UALR has an isolated slugging percentage of .113 while A-State is at .089 which means that more of the Trojans hits tend to be of the extra base variety.

Bryson Thionnet and Tanner Rockwell are the team power bats at Thionnet leads with nine homers but is behind Rockwell with 12 doubles and 31 RBI. Rockwell leads in doubles (15), triples (3), RBI (40) and on base percentage .392. Ben Crumpton’s ability to get on base and advance into scoring position is key to the offense. Crumpton is hitting .318 with 31 steals on 34 attempts. Austin Pfeiffer usually hits lead-off and has 14 steals of his own.

By contrast, A-State’s leading home run hitter is Austin Baker with six and he is also the steals leader with 11. However, the Red Wolves boast of a lineup that prides itself in getting on base led by Eric Wilcoxson at .451 with Zach Maggio (.410) and Austin Baker (.406) next as they have five hitters at greater than .400 in on base percentage. The Red Wolves also have a higher BABIP (.326 to .315) which shows that their batting average on balls that don’t leave the park is better than the Trojans.

Matt Burgess is the RBI beast of the offense with 55 on the season, Baker is second with 37 but leads with 46 runs scored with Maggio not far behind at 42. The Trojans line up is full of guys who can homer while the Red Wolves offense is full of guys that find ways to get on base.

Friday night will be a rematch of A-State’s sophomore righty David Owen (5-5, 3.86 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, .256 OBA, 68 K, 22 BB) and UALR’s senior southpaw Travis McDonald (3-6, 4.38 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, .273 OBA, 51 K, 28 BB). Owen won the last matchup hurling seven scoreless while striking out 10. Owen comes in off a tough-luck loss to Troy’s Shane McCain, allowing only two earned runs in the outing. McDonald allowed two earned runs over 5.2 innings against Texas State in his last outing.

Senior right-hander Bradley Wallace (3-4, 4.48 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, .287 OBA, 62 K, 23 BB) had a rough outing last Saturday, leaving in the fifth after allowing five earned. Wallace will face redshirt sophomore right-handed pitcher Sam Thoele (0-3, 3.89 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, .238 OBA, 35 K, 28 BB). Thoele threw 3.1 scoreless innings against A-State in two relief appearances earlier this year. Thoele’s last start was tough, being pulled in the second with control issues.

A-State is waiting to announce their starter for Sunday. Candidates include Chandler Hawkins (3-5, 5.98 ERA, .291 OBA, 57 K, 23 BB); Tanner Gaines (4-1, 4.79, .265, 23 K, 17 BB) and Bryan Ayers (2-1, 3.14, .206, 26 K, 16 BB). UALR will throw their most reliable arm in junior righty Cameron Allen (5-5, 4.21 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, .247 OBA, 47 K, 10 BB) who threw 7.1 innings and allowed only two earned runs at Texas State last week. Allen has thrown two complete games this season.

The Red Wolves’ pen is led by Colton Kibler (1 SV, 27 APP, 2.34 ERA, .198 OBA, 21 K, 9 BB), Cody Woodhouse (1 SV, 22 APP, 3.88 ERA, .266 OBA, 30 K, 20 BB) and Morgan Croft (7 SV, 20 APP, 3.58 ERA, .226 OBA, 26 K, 20 BB) with Tyler Zuber (4 SV, 2.23 ERA, .223 OBA, 27 K, 14 BB) taking on closer duties.

UALR has a solid pen led by Dyllon Brownmiller (21 APP, 2.13 ERA, .233 OBA, 24 K, 2 BB) and Jesse Harbin (16 APP, 1.59 ERA, .197 OBA, 26 K, 10 BB). Tanner Rockwell (6 SV, 1.83 ERA, .113 OBA, 25 K, 18 BB) and Brent Mason (3 SV, 2.08 ERA, .303 OBA, 6 K, 4 BB) take on the closer duties.

It should be a great series at Gary Hogan Field with everything on the line for the Trojans and with the Red Wolves trying finish second in the conference, looking to get to 20 conference wins.

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You can read more of Mark West at College Baseball Central where he covers Arkansas State, the Sun Belt Conference and the Big 12 Conference at


red wolves at trojans to end the season

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