Mark West: Tyler Zuber Key To Comeback Win over Memphis


G1 Tyler Zuber (620x350)

JONESBORO, Ark. – Tyler Zuber (Fr., RHP) was the man on the bridge telling the Memphis Tigers, “You shall not pass” after coming in for early relief of Arkansas State Red Wolves’ starter Tanner Gaines (Jr., RHP) who was hit often by the Tigers’ attack. Gaines was chased from the game after two innings having allowed three earned runs off of five hits while recording two strike outs.

The Tigers led off the game with three straight singles by Ethan Gross (Sr., SS), Carter White (Jr., C) and Jake Little (So., RF) with Gross scoring the game’s first run on Little’s single to center field. White would later score on a sac fly by Tucker Tubbs (Jr., 1B) to give Memphis a 2-0 first inning lead.

Memphis would add to the lead when Drew Griffin (RSr., 3B) and Kane Barrow (RJr., LF) hit back-to-back singles to lead off the second. Barrow’s single to center scored Griffin who had moved into scoring position by swiping second base. Gaines would strike out two of the next three Tiger hitters to get out of the inning trailing 3-0.

Zuber entered the game and pitched a perfect third inning as the Red Wolves began their rally in the home half of the inning. Zach Maggio (Sr., DH) drew a one-out walk and Austin Baker (So., CF) drove a ball to the gap in right center field that would turn into an inside-the-park home run, bringing Baker’s team-leading home run total to five and pulling Arkansas State to within a run at 3-2.

As Zuber rolled, the Red Wolves attacked as Stuart Levy (Jr., C) extended his reaching base safely streak to 22 games with a double down the left field line in the fourth that would lead to him scoring on a throwing error by Tiger’s first baseman Tubbs to tie the game at 3-3.

Derek Birginske (So., RF) led off the sixth with a double down the left field line and would later score on a sac fly by Maggio to give Arkansas State the 4-3 lead. Dustin Jones (Sr., SS) continued his clutch, two-out hitting with a two-out single that scored Matt Burgess (So., 1B) who drew a one-out walk and advanced to third on a Levy single putting the Red Wolves out front 5-3.

Zuber’s night was complete having thrown five scoreless innings in a stingy performance allowing Memphis only two hits while striking out three Tigers. Zuber allowed one baserunner to reach second which occurred when Barrow singled in the fourth inning and stole second base. The Tigers tried to do the same again in the fifth after a single by Gross, but Levy threw him out as he attempted to steal second.

Colton Kibler (Jr., RHP) would take the eighth inning and the Tigers would rally as Gross and White drew back-to-back, one-out walks and Little followed with a double down the left field line to score Gross and advance White to third from which he would score on a fielding error by Birginske to tie the game at five.

Nate Rupiper (Jr., DH) next hit a two-run single, giving Memphis the 7-5 lead. Kibler would lock in, getting Drew Griffin (RSr., 3B) to pop up and then Levy gunned down his second runner of the game, throwing out Rupiper as he attempted to steal second to end the Tiger threat.

Colin Massinelli (Jr., LF/RF) led off the Red Wolves eighth by drawing a walk and then scoring on a fielding error by Tigers center fielder Darien Tubbs (Fr.). Maggio, who had reached on a double, scored on Lucas Feddersen’s (Jr., 2B) infield single to tie the game at seven.

After a second Tigers’ pitching change in the inning, Burgess knocked the first pitch he saw to left field for a single that scored Baker, who reached on an error, to give the Red Wolves the 8-7 lead. Levy would ground out and the Tigers’ would make a third pitching change before Ty Michelotti (Jr., LF) singled on a two-out, 0-and-2 pitch scoring Feddersen and Burgess and increasing Arkansas State’s lead to 10-7.

Kibler responded to the Red Wolves rally by pitching a perfect ninth to get the win and give Arkansas State its’ eighth win in the last 10 ballgames to improve to 14-10. The Tigers fall to 15-9 and after an 11-1 start having dropped eight of their last 12 games.

Arkansas State plays a road game at Missouri State Wednesday night before coming home to host former Arkansas State assistant coach Ty Harrington and his current team the Texas State Bobcats in a battle for second, and possibly first, place in the Sun Belt this weekend.