Red Wolves Come up Short in Rally Effort

Courtesy Arkansas State University Department of Athletics


LAFAYETTE, La. — The Arkansas State baseball team scored two runs in the top of the ninth inning, but left the tying on run on base as the Red Wolves lost to Troy 3-2 in the opening round of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament.

The loss moves A-State (26-30) into the elimination bracket where they will take on Western Kentucky at 9 a.m. on Thursday.

Trailing 3-0 going into the ninth inning, Dustin Jones led off the inning with a bunt single and then Drew Burks followed with a pinch-hit double to bring the tying run to the plate. Kevin Fitzpatrick brought in a run on an RBI groundout to cut the lead to 3-1 and Burks scored on a wild pitch to cut the deficit to one run.Stuart Levy drew a 2-out walk to put the tying run on base and Kaleb Brown stole second after coming on as a pinch runner.

However, Brown could not advance past second base and Logan Uxa struck out looking for the game’s final out.

The Red Wolves struggled to push across runs all afternoon and left 12 men stranded on the base paths. The squad left the bases loaded in the second and third innings and also left two on base in the first inning.

Collin Massanelli started the game with a leadoff double to right field and then moved to third on an infield hit by Levy. However, A-State failed to push across a run in the frame and left both men on base to end the inning.

The Red Wolves had a golden scoring opportunity in the second inning. Derek Birginske started the inning by collection his second hit of the season, while Ryan Roberts followed with a single and Alex Pottscollected a walk to give the Red Wolves a bases loaded opportunity with no outs in the inning. However, A-State failed to get the ball of the infield in its next three at-bats and left the runners stranded to end the inning.

Troy (40-16) jumped out in front in the bottom of the second inning on a solo home from Trae Santos in the bottom of the second inning to give the Trojans an early 1-0 advantage.

ASU had another opportunity in the third inning when it loaded the bases in the third inning. A-State had a single and two walks in the inning and chased Troy starting pitcher Levi Tate from the game, but Jeremy McGowan came in relief and struck out Potts looking to end the inning and leave the bases loaded for the second straight inning for A-State.

The Trojans added to their lead with a pair of runs in the fifth inning. Brandon Brown drove in a run with a RBI single and then advanced to third when the Red Wolves failed to execute a pickoff play and Brown was able to advance two bases on a stolen base and an error. He scored on an RBI double by Tyler Vaughn one batter later to push the deficit to 3-0.

Daniel Wright was solid in his eight quality start of the season. He threw eight innings, struck out three and allowed just three runs on eight hits. He went at least seven innings for the ninth straight game and has now retired the side in order in 11 of his last 27 innings.

The Red Wolves will take on the Hilltoppers in an elimination game Thursday morning. A-State took two of three games from Western Kentucky at Tomlinson Stadium earlier this season.

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