LAFAYETTE, La. (5/22/18) – The Arkansas State baseball team saw its season come to a close with a 5-4 loss in 10 innings to eighth-seeded UT Arlington at the Sun Belt Conference Tournament Tuesday night at M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field in Lafayette, La.
The loss ends a streak of eight consecutive seasons with at least two wins in the conference tournament, a feat no other team had accomplished over that time span. A-State ends the 2018 season with a record of 20-32, while UTA advanced to face Coastal Carolina at 12:30 p.m. in the double-elimination portion of the tournament.
The game was tied 1-1 in the bottom of the fifth when a lightning delay halted the action. Bo Ritter entered with runners on first and second and two outs in relief of Bradey Welsh after a delay of almost 50 minutes. Later in the frame a wild pitch allowed the Mavericks to take the lead 2-1.
However, A-State loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the seventh and Winston Welsh ripped a single up-the-middle to score two runs and put the Red Wolves up 3-2. Tobias Johnson followed with a single through the right side to make the score 4-2. The Mavs wouldn’t go quietly as two singles led off the bottom of the eighth inning and a wild pitch put the runners on second and third. A RBI ground out and sacrifice fly later the score was tied 4-4.
Reliever Peyton Culbertson put two runners on with one out in the bottom of the tenth on a hit-by-pitch and walk to set up Easton Johnson. Johnson then bounced a seeing-eye single up-the-middle, just out of reach of Culbertson and A-State’s middle infielders, to score the winning run and give UT Arlington a walk-off win.
Casey Vaughan led the Red Wolves with three hits, including a double and triple, and scored two runs, while Welch had two RBI. Christian Hollie led the Mavericks with three hits, while Noah Vaughan scored two runs.
Daniel James got the win for UT Arlington with two scoreless frames out of the bullpen. UTA starter Ka’ikepono Anderson went four innings, while A-State scored three runs off of reliever Logan Austin.
Welsh went 4.2 for the Red Wolves and came out after the lightning delay. Bo Ritter gave up two runs in three innings, while Culbertson went the final 1.2 frames.
UT Arlington got on the scoreboard first with a solo home run by Noah Vaughan in the bottom of the second, but A-State was able to even the score in the bottom of the fourth. Casey Vaughan doubled down the third-base line and came around to score on a two-out single from Cullen Ray.
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