Three-Run Seventh Lifts @AStateBaseball to Series-Opening Win
JONESBORO, Ark. (3/3/17) – The Arkansas State baseball team used a three-run seventh inning for a come-from-behind 5-4 win over Cincinnati Friday night in the series opener at Tomlinson Stadium in Jonesboro.
A-State (7-4) came into the bottom of the seventh trailing the Bearcats (3-5) by a score of 4-2 with Cincinnati turning the game over to reliever A.J. Kullman. The 6-8 right-hander got Jeremy Brown to ground out to third to begin the inning, but Casey Vaughan doubled down the right-field line to give the Red Wolves a base runner. Kullman hit two consecutive batters to load the bases before walking in a run by issuing a base on balls to Grant Hawkins to bring the Red Wolves within 4-3.
Drew Tipton stepped up to the plate, but struck out on a 1-2 pitch that grazed the outside corner to bring up Joe Schrimpf with two outs. Schrimpf was up for the challenge as he punched an 0-1 pitch into right-center field for a single to score Alex Howard and Jake Bakamus to give A-State a 5-4 advantage, their first of the game.
Tanner Kirby, who pitched a scoreless seventh, tossed a perfect eighth, but got into trouble in the top of the ninth when the Bearcats put runners on first and second with two outs. However, the Maumelle, Ark., native was able to strike out A.J. Bumpass on a pitch in the dirt to end the game and secure the win for the Red Wolves.
Kirby improved to 2-0 on the season with three scoreless innings after allowing two hits with four strikeouts and a walk. Starter Bryan Ayers allowed four runs on four hits with four walks and seven strikeouts, but didn’t factor in the decision. Kullman took the loss for Cincinnati to fall to 2-1 on the year after relieving Andrew Zellner, who lasted six innings and gave up two runs on two hits with nine punch outs against one walk.
Cincinnati struck first on a Connor McVey single that plated Jace Mercer from first base on a hit-and-run play in the top of the third. R.J. Thompson stepped up to the plate and hit an opposite-field, two-run homer to right to put the score at 3-0. Thompson finished 2-for-3 at the dish with three RBI.
A-State struck back in the bottom of the fourth when Brown hit his second home run of the season, but first one over the fence, to left field to Schrimpf, who was hit by a pitch earlier in the frame. However, the 3-2 deficit soon became 4-2 when Thompson ripped a run-scoring single to left field in the top of the fifth.
The Red Wolves return to action against Cincinnati Saturday afternoon at Tomlinson Stadium. First pitch is set for 2 p.m. Fans can listen to the game on 95.3 FM The Ticket and online at 953TheTicket.com, but it will not be streamed on the Red Wolves Digital Network due to the women’s basketball game against South Alabama.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).