NATCHITOCHES, La. (2/26/17) – The Arkansas State baseball team registered 16 hits, six of which were for extra bases, to propel the Red Wolves to 11 combined runs in the second and fourth innings in a 12-3 victory over Northwestern State in the rubber game Sunday at Brown-Stroud Field in Natchitoches, La.
The 16 hits tied a season high for A-State as the team improved to 6-3 on the season, which is the best start through nine games for the Red Wolves since a 7-2 start in 2013. Garrett Rucker and Jake Bakamus led the offense with three hits apiece, while two of Rucker’s were triples, making him the first A-State player to hit two triples in a game since Ty White did it on May 26, 2016 against Troy in the SBC Tournament. Alex Howard hit two doubles and drove in a pair of runs, while Justin Felix smacked an opposite field home run to right-center field in the second inning to plate three.
Collin Cahill was the beneficiary of the offensive outburst as the Conway, Ark., native picked up the first win of his collegiate career after limiting the Demons (3-3) to three runs on three hits with four strikeouts and seven walks. Tyler Mitzel tossed three innings out of the bullpen and struck out seven while Tyler Zuber finished the game with two strikeouts in one inning.
Northwestern State scored in the bottom of the first on a RBI single by Kelsey Richard, but Bakamus gunned down a runner trying to advance to third to prevent a big inning. The Demons’ lead was short-lived when A-State scored three in the top of the second on a passed ball, RBI double by Howard, and RBI double by Tipton. Joe Schrimpf was hit by a pitch after Tipton’s double to set up the blast by Felix, his second of the year, which put the Red Wolves on top 6-1.
The Demons got within 6-2 on another Richard single, but Arkansas State scored three when Rucker cleared the bases with his second triple of the game for a 9-2 edge. Bakamus knocked in another run with a single and then Howard doubled home another to put A-State on top 11-2. Richard brought home his third RBI of the day on a sacrifice fly to bring NSU within 11-3 in the bottom of the fifth, but Grant Hawkins singled home Bakamus to get the run back and set the score at 12-3.
Northwestern State starter Evan Tidwell took the loss after allowing nine runs (all earned) on 10 hits in three innings of work. Richard knocked in all three runs for the home team and also had two of the Demons’ six hits.
Arkansas State returns action with a two-game midweek series against Missouri State at Tomlinson Stadium. The first game is set for Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 4 p.m., while the second game of the set will be Wednesday, March 1 at 3 p.m.For the latest on A-State baseball follow the team by logging onto the Arkansas State Baseball Facebook page or by following the team on Twitter (@AStateBaseball) and Instagram (arkansasstatebaseball).