Mark West: Baseball Red Wolves Take Series at South Alabama


MOBILE, Ala. – Mobile, while it has been friendly to the Arkansas State football team, had not been as cordial with the baseball Red Wolves. That changed this weekend as the A-State Red Wolves took 2-of-3 from the South Alabama Jaguars in dramatic fashion winning a series in Mobile for the first time ever.

After dropping Friday night’s opener, the Red Wolves rallied back for two, one-run victories, earned in their last at bat, getting game-winning runs in the 14th inning Saturday and the ninth inning on Sunday. South Alabama won 2-of-3 in Fayetteville, Ark. against the Arkansas Razorbacks earlier this season.

Game 1 – South Alabama 5, A-State 0

The Red Wolves troubles hitting left-handed pitching continued Friday night as South Alabama junior southpaw Locke St. John pitched seven scoreless innings for the win. In an uncharacteristic night, A-State was 0-for-2 on steal attempts and sophomore righty David Owen pitched his shortest outing of the season lasting only 2.1 innings in the loss.

Game 2A-State 7, South Alabama 6, 14 innings

Sophomore center fielder Austin Baker opened the scoring with a first-inning, two-run homer. However, for the second day in a row the Jags would chase A-State’s starter from the game early as junior southpaw Chandler Hawkins with no outs and the bases loaded in the third inning as South Alabama would take a 4-2 lead.

The teams would begin a salvo of small ball as the next four runs in the game would be scored in a manufactured fashion. A-State’s senior short stop Dustin Jones laid down the suicide squeeze to pull within one and freshman second baseman Eric Wilcoxson hit a sac fly to tie the game at four.

South Alabama would retake and extend the lead with a pair of suicide squeezes of their own, making the score 6-4. The Red Wolves would come back to tie the game in the eighth as sophomore right fielder Derek Birginske hit an RBI triple followed by an RBI single by junior catcher Stuart Levy.

Meanwhile, junior right-hander Tanner Gaines was shutting down the Jaguars bats as he fires 6.1 scoreless innings in relief to get the game to the 14th. Sophomore first baseman Matt Burgess hit a bases loaded sac fly, scoring Wilcoxson to win the game for the Red Wolves as Morgan Croft would get the save.

Game 3 – A-State 3, South Alabama 2

Baseball Red Wolves Take Series at South Alabama

Photo Credit: Kristy West

The rubber match would feature a pitching battle as both starters would leave the game tied at 2-2. Senior righty Bradley Wallace was quality for a third straight outing fanning seven Jags over six innings of work.

Trailing 1-0, junior third baseman Lucas Feddersen drove in Baker with a single up the middle to tie the game. After A-State fell behind 2-1, Jones knocked in Levy to tie the game at two.

Senior designated hitter Zach Maggio would come to bat in the ninth and hit a game-winning double, scoring Jones to give the Red Wolves the lead. Croft would strand the game-tying and winning runs at second and third with a game ending strikeout for his second save of the series and seventh on the year.

Junior righty Colton Kibler would get the win after recording the final two outs of the eighth inning.

Arkansas State (20-16, 10-5 Sun Belt) wins the series and strengthens its’ hold on second place in the Sun Belt with a two-game lead yet loses ground to the No. 3 Louisiana Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns who swept UALR this weekend. A-State continues to have a strong RPI of 54 which is tops among teams in the state.

Player of the Series: Austin Baker (So., CF) .250 (3-for-12), HR (6), 3 BB, HBP, .438 OBA, 2 R, 2 RBI

Pitcher of the Series: Tanner Gainer (Jr., RHP) W, 1-0, 6.1 IP, 2 H, BB, K

Also of note, A-State played in-state UCA this week and won 3-0 as freshman righty Bryan Ayers threw six scoreless innings while another freshman, Wilcoxson, provided all the offense going 2-for-3 with an RBI single, RBI double and a run scored. The Red Wolves went 3-1 on the week.

Upcoming Red Wolves travel to Memphis, Tenn. looking for the season sweep as they play the Memphis Tigers (19-18, 4-8 CUSA) whom they defeated 10-7 in Jonesboro earlier in the season. A-State returns home to host the Louisiana Monroe Warhawks (16-22, 7-8 Sun Belt) whom they took 2-of-3 from last season in Monroe. In 2012, the last home series with ULM, A-State dropped 2-of-3 and then would lose the Sun Belt Conference championship game to them as well.

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