Mark West: Late Rally Falls Short; Red Wolves Lose To Missouri State


Red Wolves Lose To Missouri State 5-4

Red Wolves Lose To Missouri State Dustin Jones at bat

Dustin Jones at bat. Photo Credit: Mark West


SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – The Arkansas State Red Wolves would leave the game-tying run merely 90 feet away as they fell to the Missouri State Bears 5-4 in a game that was a role reversal of sorts from Tuesday night’s match-up with the Memphis Tigers.

Arkansas State jumped out to a first inning lead as Austin Baker (So., CF) struck a one-out single to left center and then scored on a single by Tanner Ring (So, DH) after Lucas Feddersen (Jr., 2B) and Matt Burgess (So., 1B) worked back-to-back walks to load the bases.

Missouri State starter Jordan Knutson (Fr., LHP) then uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Feddersen to score before walking Derek Birginske (So., LF) to load the bases for the second time in the inning. Joe Schrimpf (Fr., 3B) lifted a sac fly to center field to score Burgess for the 3-0 lead.

Missouri State was forced to the pen early with two-outs and runners on first and second. Sam Perez (So., RHP) came on in relief and got Kevin Fitzpatrick (So. RF) to ground out on a close play at first as the throw pulled Bears’ first baseman Conor Smith (Sr.) off the bag, but he managed to make the tag to record the out.

This out was key since Perez had loaded the bases for the third time in the inning by hitting Tyler Hardie (Fr., C). The Bears escaped the jam only allowing only three runs and would force the Red Wolves to leave the bases loaded and that would haunt the Red Wolves.

Arkansas State starter Adam Grantham (So., RHP) pitched a perfect first inning but the Missouri State offense would find its feet in the second. Matt Fultz (So. C) led-off the inning by ripping a solo shot to right center, his third homer of the season, to get the Bears on the board.

After back-to-back singles by Spencer Johnson (So., LF) and Eric Cheray (Jr., 2B) Smith would drive them both in with a double to right center field to tie the game at 3-3. Smith advanced to third on a Grantham wild pitch and then scored on a groundout by Patrick Drake (Sr., RF) to capture the lead at 4-3.

The Bears would get to Grantham again in the third when Dylan Becker (Jr., 3B) led-off the frame with a single and then stole second before advancing to third on a Tate Matheny (So., CF) groundout. Becker would score on another groundout by Fultz to extend the Bears lead to 5-3.

Grantham would get an inning-ending double-play after hitting Smith with a pitch to escape the fourth inning. Arkansas State then turned to freshman righty Bryan Ayers who would provide the Red Wolves with a second straight solid relief outing in a row.

Both midweek relief outings were by freshman as Tyler Zuber (Fr., RHP) had shut down the Memphis Tigers over five innings the prior night. Ayers pitched four scoreless innings allowing only one hit to give the Red Wolves a chance to win by keeping them in the game.

However, Perez would continue to hold the Red Wolves’ attack down scattering two hits and two hit batters over seven innings before getting to the ninth inning. Hardie led-off the ninth with a single and was pulled for pinch runner Kaleb Brown (RJr.).

After a Collin Massanelli (Jr., RF) fly out, Dustin Jones (Sr., SS) doubled to put runners at second and third with one out. Brown scored on a groundout by Baker that advanced Jones to third base with two outs. However, Perez would get Feddersen to ground out on the first pitch he saw to end the game, a 5-4 loss for the Red Wolves.

Arkansas State falls to 14-11 overall, 5-1 in the Sun Belt, and heads home to Jonesboro to host the Texas State Bobcats (15-9, 5-1 Sun Belt) in what is now a battle for second, but if the No. 4 Louisiana Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns lose any games at home against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers this weekend, it could become a battle for first in the Sun Belt. The Texas Bobcats are coached by former Arkansas State assistant coach Ty Harrington who served under Bill Bethea from 1992-1994.