EMERSON, Ga. (2/21/15) – The Arkansas State baseball team won the first game of a doubleheader against seventh-ranked Louisville 4-1 to clinch a series victory, but the Cardinals avoided the sweep with a 14-8 win in the finale Saturday afternoon at Perfect Game Park South in Emerson, Ga.
The series victory is the first time Arkansas State (4-2) has won a series against a ranked opponent since defeating No. 18 Western Kentucky two games to one in Jonesboro during the 2010 season.
Tanner Ring began the scoring in game one with a solo home run that just barely snuck over Louisville (3-3) left fielder Mike White’s glove to give A-State a 1-0 edge. Neither team would score again until the bottom of the fourth.
Joe Schrimpf was hit by a pitch with one out to start the fourth inning rally and Jeremy Brown followed with an infield single to put runners at first and second. Ty White doubled both runners home with a double to right center to give the Red Wolves a 3-0 lead. White was later cut down at home trying to score on a ground ball to second, but Tim Seldomridge, who registered his first collegiate hit on a bunt, scored on an errant pickoff throw to extend A-State’s lead to 4-0.
Louisville threatened in the top of the sixth inning when they loaded the bases with one out and Corey Ray at the plate. Ray smoked a line drive right at A-State second baseman Joe Schrimpf that was caught for the second out and then flipped to the shortstop Brown to double off Sutton Whiting for the final out of the inning.
The Cardinals’ last threat occurred in the top of the ninth when reliever Collin Nord allowed a single to begin the inning. Colton Kibler relieved Nord and hit the first batter he faced before a fly out to center field became the first out of the inning. A balk advanced the runners to second and third and a single scored one run to bring Louisville within 4-1. However, Kibler got a pop up to second and struck out back-to-back pinch hitters to seal the 4-1 win for Arkansas State.
Sophomore Tyler Zuber threw eight innings and allowed no runs on two hits with two walks and three strikeouts in his second career start to earn his first win of the season. Zach George and Brown led the Red Wolves with two hits apiece and George also stole his second base of the season.
The second game started in favor of the Red Wolves as well when Matt Burgess doubled to lead off the top of the second inning and was brought home by a Schrimpf single to give A-State a 1-0 lead. Louisville walked the bases loaded and then a wild pitch Schrimpf to score with two outs for a 2-0 advantage. George knocked in two more runs with a clutch hit to center and A-State ended the inning leading the game 4-0.
The Red Wolves tacked on another run in the third inning after Levy led off with a single and was knocked in by another Burgess double for a 5-0 edge. Louisville scored in the bottom half, despite not getting a hit off A-State starter Jon Glidewell in the inning, on a balk to make the margin 5-1.
A-State responded in a big way in the top of the fourth as a single an error put runners on first and second with no outs. Austin Baker knocked both guys in with a single after a sacrifice bunt and later scored on a wild pitch himself as the Red Wolves took an 8-1 lead and appeared poised for the sweep.
However, Louisville wouldn’t go down without a fight and made the score 8-3 in the bottom half of the fourth when Devin Hairston homered to left field. The Cardinals added two more runs in the bottom of the sixth on a single and sacrifice fly and were all of a sudden down 8-5.
Derek Birginske came on in relief in the seventh inning and got the first two outs rather easily, but hit a batter and walked before Ray tied the game up on a home run to center field. The eighth inning started much the same as Chandler Hawkins relieved Birginske and got the first two hitters out. Hawkins allowed a two-out double and walked the next hitter to bring Ryan Summers to the dish.
Hawkins struck Summers out on three straight pitches but the last pitch was in the dirt and Summers reached base after stepping on Levy’s hand, which allowed the ball to roll further away after the A-State catcher had blocked it. Sutton Whiting hit a blooper for a double down the right field line to plate two runs and give the Cardinals a 10-8 advantage they wouldn’t surrender. Four runs later the inning ended and Louisville’s Brendan McKay struck out the side in the top of the ninth to clinch the 14-8 win for the Cardinals.
McKay earned the win after holding the Red Wolves scoreless in four innings of relief. He only allowed two hits and struck out eight batters with no walks. Glidewell, pitching for the first time since the 2012 season, was effective as he tossed 5.1 innings and allowed four runs on three hits with two walks and four strikeouts. Hawkins took the loss for the Red Wolves in relief. George led the Red Wolves with three hits in game two, while Baker and Burgess each registered two-hit performances.
Arkansas State’s next scheduled game is set for Feb. 24 in Oxford, Miss., as the Red Wolves travel to Ole Miss for a 3 p.m. first pitch and fans can watch the contest on ESPN3/SEC Network+. The Red Wolves next home game is Wednesday, Feb. 25 against Southeast Missouri State with first pitch set for 6 p.m. from Tomlinson Stadium.
Tickets for the 2015 campaign are on sale and be purchased online at tickets.astate.edu or by calling the A-State Ticket Office at 1-888-ASUFANS. For the latest on A-State baseball follow the team by logging onto the team’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/astatebaseball and following them on Twitter @ASTATEBaseball.