CONWAY, S.C. (3/25/17) – The Arkansas State baseball team had 12 hits and scored six runs, but left 11 runners on base, while Coastal Carolina had 17 hits and scored seven runs in the fourth inning to defeat A-State 11-6 Saturday afternoon at Springs Brooks Stadium in Conway, S.C.
The loss dropped A-State to 11-11 on the year and 2-3 in league play, while also sending the Red Wolves to its first weekend series loss of the season. The Chanticleers improved to 14-9 and 3-2 in SBC play.
Arkansas State jumped out to an early 1-0 edge in the top of the third inning when Alex Howard hit his first career home run at A-State off Coastal starter Andrew Beckwith. However, the Chanticleers’ bats came alive in the bottom of the fourth inning with seven runs on seven hits and one A-State error. The biggest blow came from Matt Beaird when the CCU backstop hit a towering three-run home run in the inning, his second homer of the series.
The Red Wolves responded with a four-run top of the fifth when Joe Schrimpf walked with the bases loaded to score the first run. Garrett Rucker hit a RBI ground out before Justin Felix swatted a double down the left-field line just inside the third-base bag to plate two and get A-State within 7-5.
Nevertheless, the Chanticleers put two runners on with one out in the bottom of the fifth off starter Peyton Culbertson to chase him from the game. Tanner Kirby entered in relief, but allowed a RBI single and sacrifice fly as the home team pushed its lead out to 9-5. Coastal Carolina would add single runs in the sixth and seventh innings to extend the advantage to 11-5.
Grant Hawkins knocked in a run in the eighth inning to make the score 11-6 and the Red Wolves loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the ninth on reliever Cole Schaefer. However, Schaefer struck out Tobias Johnson looking and the Chanticleers turned to Will Latcham to get the final two outs. Howard hit a hard ground ball off the right-hander, but it was close enough for the shortstop to snag and complete a 6-4-3 double play to end the game.
Howard ended the day 4-for-5 with a RBI, three runs scored, and a triple shy of the cycle to pace the A-State offense. Hawkins added three hits, while Felix and Rucker each registered two hits. Billy Cooke led Coastal Carolina with a 4-for-4 showing and a RBI, while Beaird finished with three hits and five runs driven in to give him seven for the series.
Beckwith earned the win for Coastal despite allowing five earned runs on eight hits with two walks and one strikeout in 5.2 innings. Culbertson gave up nine runs on 12 hits to fall to 2-2 on the year. Kirby allowed a couple of runs in 2.2 innings of work, while Collin Cahill pitched a scoreless eighth inning.
The Red Wolves and Coastal Carolina conclude the series Sunday afternoon with a first pitch set for 12 p.m. (CT). Tyler Mitzel is set to start for the Red Wolves, while the Chanticleers counter with Jason Bilous.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).