JONESBORO, Ark. (4/8/17) – The Arkansas State baseball team got a fantastic performance on the mound from sophomore Peyton Culbertson and scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to defeat Georgia 4-2 Saturday night at Tomlinson Stadium in Jonesboro.
The Red Wolves (17-14, 6-5 SBC) trailed the Panthers (11-19, 1-10 SBC) 2-1 entering the bottom of the eighth inning, but Grant Hawkins led off the inning with a single to center field and was bunted over to second by Joe Schrimpf. Garrett Rucker hit a ground ball to second base, but it was booted and trickled far enough away to allow Hawkins to score the tying run.
Georgia State elected to go to the bullpen in relief of starter Hunter Gaddis, who was excellent in the game, to Logan Barnette. However, Barnette allowed a triple to Justin Felix to score Rucker before Jeremy Brown doubled to score Felix and put the score at 4-2 in favor of A-State. Liam Henry entered for the visitors and induced a ground out and pop up to send the game to the ninth.
Tyler Zuber entered to close the game and wasted no time by sandwiching two strikeouts around a ground to save the game for Culbertson. It was Zuber’s team-best fourth save of the year as Culbertson improved to 3-3 on the year after setting career highs in innings pitched with eight and strikeouts with 11. The Collierville, Tenn., native allowed two runs on three hits and walked two.
Rucker led the A-State offense with two hits on the night, while Rucker, Felix, and Brown all knocked in a run. Georgia State had hits by Nick Gatewood, Payton Mann, and Mike Huggins, while Mann and Romero Greer scored the team’s two runs on wild pitches in the fifth inning to take a 2-0 edge.
Gaddis went 7.1 and allowed three runs (one earned) on four hits with no walks and five punch outs. A-State got to him for an unearned run in the bottom of the sixth off a ground ball that Felix hit to third base after an errant throw to cut the deficit to 2-1.
Georgia State appeared poised to jump ahead in the top of the fourth, but a fantastic diving catch by Rucker in center field with his back to home plate on a ball hit by Darius Sewell prevented Gatewood from scoring and giving the Panthers an early edge.
Arkansas State and Georgia State will play the final game of the series Sunday at Tomlinson Stadium. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. A-State will send Tyler Mitzel to the mound as the Red Wolves try to complete a conference series sweep. Georgia State will counter with right-hander Tanner Thomson on the bump.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).