COURTESY: Arkansas State
MOBILE, Ala. (5/21/14) – The third-seeded Arkansas State baseball team rallied from two runs down in the ninth to go to extra inning, but a solo home by Troy in the top of the 13thinning handed the Red Wolves a 4-3 loss in the opening round of the Sun Belt Conference Baseball Championship Tournament Wednesday night at Stanky Field on the University of South Alabama campus.
The Red Wolves (30-26) and Trojans (25-30) tied for the longest game in SBC Tournament history and it was the second that Arkansas State had played a 13 inning game in the tournament.
A-State trailed 3-1 in the bottom of the ninth, but rallied for two runs to send the game into extra innings. After both teams battled through three scoreless frames, Troy’s Garrett Pitts hit a two-out, solo home run in the top of the 13th and the Red Wolves left the tying run stranded on second base in the home half of the inning.
Matt Burgess, who named as a CollegeSportsMadness.com First-Team All-Sun Belt Conference selection, started the rally in the ninth with a leadoff single. Kaleb Brown came in to pinch run for Burgess and advanced to second when Stuart Levy was hit by a pitch.
Dustin Jones singled followed with an RBI single to score Brown and put runners on the corners with one out.Ty Michelotti tied the game with a sacrifice fly and Lucas Feddersen reached on an error by the Troy third baseman to move the winning run into scoring position, but Zach Maggio flied out to end the inning.
A-State had an opportunity to win the game in the 11th inning when it loaded the bases with two outs. Joe Schrimpf and Michelotti each reached on a walk, and Feddersen got on via an HBP, but Maggio grounded out on a fielder’s choice for the final out of the inning.
The A-State bullpen was terrific on the night and surrendered just one run in 10 2/3 innings of work. Freshman Tyler Zuber (2-1) took the loss but made just one mistake in 4 2/3 inning.
He entered the game with one out in the ninth and tied a career-high with six strikeouts and did not walk a batter. He gave up just one run on one hit on 60 pitches.
Red Wolves starter David Owen went just 2 1/3 innings and gave up three runs on two hits on 56 pitches.Cody Woodhouse relieved him in the third and gave A-State two innings of shutout baseball before giving way to junior Colton Kibler who tossed 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief.
Coulton Lee got the only batter he faced in the ninth and then gave way to Zuber who finished the game.
Levy scored A-State’s first run in the seventh inning on an RBI groundout by Schrimpf. The junior catcher led off the inning with his second triple of the season and for his only hit of the afternoon.
Troy starter Shane McCain stifled the A-State offense through eight innings and faced one batter in the ninth before handing the ball to SBC Freshman of the Year Marc Skinner, who surrendered one run (the first run of the inning was charged to McCain) to tie the game. McCain finished the game and threw 100 pitches on the night.
A-State will play an elimination game Thursday, May 22 at 12:30 p.m. against the loser of the South Alabama/UT-Arlington matchup. The game can be heard on 95.3FM The Ticket/970AM and on AStateRedWolves.com. Live video streaming will also be available on SunBeltSports.org on the Tournament Central page.
For in-game updates follow @AStateGameDay on Twitter and stay up to date with A-State baseball by following the team on Twitter (@AStateBaseball) and Facebook (Facebook.com/RedWolvesbaseball).