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Game Notes: @AStateBaseball Travels to Texas State

By: ArkansasState
Release: 03/30/2017
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Arkansas State at Texas State
March 31-April 1, 2017 | 2:30 p.m. (DH); 1:00 p.m.
San Marcos, Texas | Bobcat Ballpark

Radio: 95.3 FM The Ticket | TV: None | Video: txstatebobcats.com ($)
Video/Audio |  Live Stats | Tickets Tickets | Game Notes: A-State | Texas State

A-STATE/TEXAS STATE SERIES HISTORY
• A-State and Texas State have played 13 times in previous years with 12 of the 13 coming since 2009 and the last 10 as members of the Sun Belt Conference from 2014-16, including once in the conference tournament. The first meeting was during the 2000 season when A-State dropped an 11-8 decision to the Bobcats, known as Southwest Texas State then, in San Marcos.
• Head coach Tommy Raffo is 9-3 against Texas State all-time with his first game as A-State’s head coach coming against the Bobcats in 2009. The Red Wolves won the game 4-3 in 10 innings at the UT Arlington Invitational when Josh DeMoney singled home Cody Pace for the walk-off win. However, the Bobcats were able to earn a win just two days later by a score of 3-2. Since then, A-State took two-of-three in Jonesboro during the 2014 season when Texas State joined the Sun Belt Conference. The Bobcats won game one 4-3 in 12 innings before the Red Wolves bounced back with 5-4 and 4-1 victories. A-State then swept Texas State in San Marcos by scores of 8-5, 12-10, and 11-10 in 2015.
• Last season A-State went 3-1 against Texas State by taking two-of-three against the Bobcats in Jonesboro May 13-15 before defeating them again in the conference tournament at Bobcat Ballpark 4-3 on May 27. Cody Jackson earned the win in the 6-1 victory in the series opener May 13 before the Red Wolves rallied from a 6-0 deficit in game two with three runs in each of the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings for a 9-6 win. Tyler Zuber earned the win in that game with 5.1 innings out of the bullpen while Austin Baker and Joe Schrimpf each had three hits apiece. However, Texas State was able to salvage the finale by a score of 12-3 with Arkansas State only able to register three hits in the contest, though one of them was a home run by Jake Bakamus. The two teams met in an elimination game in last year’s conference tournament with A-State able to make a 4-1 lead after two and half innings hold up in a 4-3 win. Tanner Kirby got the win out of the bullpen after tossing 6.1 innings and allowing just one run on three hits with five punch outs and two walks. Tanner Ring homered in the game, while Ty White hit a triple.
• Texas State enters the game at 16-9 overall and 5-1 in conference play sitting atop the West Division. The Bobcats had a four-game win streak snapped with a 9-3 setback to Texas A&M Tuesday night, but took two of three from Coastal Carolina at home to open conference play before sweeping Appalachian State in Boone, N.C., last weekend. Texas State owns a win over No. 22 Oklahoma State this season and also defeated Rice and Texas in midweek contests earlier in the campaign.

NOTES FROM SOUTHERN ILLINOIS GAME
• A-State defeated SIU 4-3 in 10 innings March 28 in what was the first extra-inning contest of the season for the team. A-State is 23-27 under coach Tommy Raffo in extra-inning games in his career and was 1-2 last season. A-State played in 10 extra-inning affairs in 2013 and was 4-6.
• The Red Wolves are now 24-48 all-time against Southern Illinois.
Tyler Zuber pitched a perfect 2.1 innings out of the bullpen to improve to 2-0 and struck out four batters while lowering his ERA to 0.38. Bradey Welsh was fantastic in his second start of the season and his career with a career-high six innings pitched and career-high eight punch outs. He gave up three unearned runs in the first inning, but didn’t allow an earned run.
Jake Bakamus delivered the big hit with the go-ahead RBI double in the top of the 10th inning, which was his third double of the year. A-State scored its first two runs on sacrifice flies by Alex Howard and Garrett Rucker to give the team a league-leading 15 sac flies on the year, which also ranks as 18th most in the country. It was Rucker’s SBC-leading fourth of the year and that number also ranks 16th in the nation.

NOTES FROM COASTAL CAROLINA SERIES
• A-State lost all three games against the defending national champions in what was the first three meeting against the school all-time and also was Coastal Carolina’s first home SBC series.
• The Red Wolves were one-hit in Friday’s 5-0 loss as Alex Cunningham tossed a complete-game shutout. Tobias Johnson got the only hit for A-State as the Red Wolves were shut out for the first time since a 13-0 loss to Missouri State March 1 and for the first time in a conference game since a 2-0 loss to UTA in the second game of a doubleheader on March 12 of last season. Bryan Ayers pitched a season-high 6.2 innings and had shut the Chanticleers out up to that point, but allowed four runs. Joe Schrimpf walked in the game with an out in the top of the seventh to end the perfect game before Johnson’s single in the eighth inning ended the no hitter.
• A-State lost game two 11-6, but Alex Howard was a bright spot with a 4-for-5 effort that
included his first home run of the season. He also set season highs in runs (3), hits (4), and total bases (8). He also added two hits in the finale to hit .545 for the series and raise his average from .186 to .250 for the season.
Tyler Zuber threw the final three innings of Sunday’s game and didn’t allow a run to lower his ERA to 0.42.
• The series sweep was the first time the Red Wolves have been sweeped in a conference road series since South Alabama last season (April 8-10).

NOTES FROM AUSTIN PEAY GAME
• The Red Wolves’ 9-8 loss to the Governors was the first walk-off decision of the season for the team and dropped A-State’s record against Austin Peay to 8-6 all-time.
• A-State hit three home runs in the game, which is the most by the team in a single game this season, and only the second time A-State has hit multiple homers in one game with the other being the first game of the March 18 doubleheader against ULM. A-State has lost both games.
Jeremy Brown hit his fourth home run of the season, most on the team, and seventh of his career. Drew Tipton hit the first home run of his career to left field in the top of the fifth inning, while Joe Schrimpf left the yard for the second time this year and the 13th time of his career, which is the most among current players.
Bradey Welsh made the first start of his career and allowed two first-inning runs, but held the Governors scoreless in his other two innings of work. The three innings pitched are a new career-high for the Marshfield, Mo., native. His previous career high was 2.2 against Omaha on Feb. 28 of last season.
• Junior Bo Ritter pitched four innings and struck out a career-high five batters in the outing, which broke his previous career high of three that he had accomplished several times, the last coming on Feb. 21 at Ole Miss.
• The Red Wolves stole five bases in the fourth inning against Austin Peay, which is the most in a single inning this season with the second most being three against NYIT Feb. 18 in the second game of a doubleheader in the sixth inning. A-State has only stolen five or more bases in an entire game nine times, including this game versus Austin Peay, since 2002.
Grant Hawkins hit the first two doubles of his career in the game. Hawkins hit a triple and two home runs before hitting his first double at Arkansas State.
• The Red Wolves and Governors were supposed to play Tuesday as well, but had to cancel the game due to rain that moved through earlier in the afternoon. A-State has now had eight games changed in some form or fashion due to weather this year, but the Tuesday game that was cancelled was the first road game to be altered due to weather this season.

TRIPLE THREAT
• Arkansas State has hit nine triples so far this season, which is the most in the Sun Belt
Conference and 30th in the nation.
Garrett Rucker has already hit four triples, including one March 19 against ULM, to lead the league and rank eighth in the country. The four triples already ranks as a tie for the eighth most in a single season in school history. The Arkadelphia, Ark., native hit triples in back-to- back at bats at Northwestern State Feb. 26 to become the first player since Pete Davis in 1970 to hit two triples in a single game.
• Five different players have tripled for A-State so far this season.
• Last season the Red Wolves set the school record for three-baggers with 22, breaking the record of 20 that had stood since the 1949 season.

THE RUNNIN’ RED WOLVES
• A-State has the 23rd most steals nationally with 40 on the year and is second in the league in the category. The Red Wolves stole five bases against Austin Peay March 22, all in the same inning, which is the most by the Red Wolves this season in one inning. A-State has only stole five bases in a game nine times since 2002 and stole seven bases against NYIT in the second game of a Feb. 18 doubleheader for the most steals in a game since 2002. The Red Wolves added three steals in the series at Coastal Carolina with Alex Howard, Jake Bakamus, and Tobias Johnson each stealing a bag, but Garrett Rucker was thrown out after oversliding the bag on a steal attempt at SIU March 28.
• A-State only had 48 steals a season ago and the school record is 91, which was done twice in 1982 and 1983. The Red Wolves stole 63 bases in the 2014 season, which is the most in the Tommy Raffo era.
Grant Hawkins leads the way with an 12-for 13 mark stealing with the 12 steals ranking as 25th most in the country and second most in the conference behind Texas State’s Jonathan Ortega, who has 13. Garrett Rucker has seven steals on the year to rank 10th in the conference, while Drew Tipton and Jake Bakamus each have five steals. 11 different players have stolen a base for the team this season.

PUNCHING THEM OUT
• The Red Wolves are fourth in the SBC with 225 strikeouts and that comes out to a 9.7 strikeouts per nine innings ratio that is third in the league and 21st in the country. However, the Red Wolves are first in the league as a team with 81 strikeouts looking with Louisiana-Lafayette as the next closest team at 68.
Bryan Ayers is fourth in the conference with 44 punch outs, while Tyler Zuber is ninth with 36 despite only throwing 23.2 innings so far this season. Additionally, Ayers is first in the league in strikeouts looking with 22 issued, while Peyton Culbertson is tied for seventh with 11 and Tanner Kirby and Zuber are tied for 10th with 10 apiece.
• Ayers ranks 51st in the nation in strikeouts. Ayers also has a 11.65 strikeouts-per-nine innings ratio and ranks second in the league and 48th in the country.

HIT ME WITH YOUR BEST SHOT
• A-State set the school record for hit-by-pitches a season ago with 98 and has already been hit 43 times this season, which is the most in the conference and 5th in the nation. A-State was three times in the game against Southern Illinois March 28 with Jeremy Brown being hit twice and Joe Schrimpf once.
Jake Bakamus has already been hit 11 times and ranks fourth in the nation along with first in the conference in the category. He was hit 21 times last season, which was the third most in a single season in school history and fourth most in the country in 2016.
Joe Schrimpf is second on the team and second in the conference with nine HBP’s to rank 17th in the nation. Jeremy Brown is third on the team and fourth in the league with six on the year. 12 different players have been hit with a pitch for the Red Wolves this season.

242 AND COUNTING FOR RAFFO
• A-State head coach Tommy Raffo is now 242-241-1 in his ninth season. The 242 wins are the third most in school history behind Bill Bethea and J.A. “Ike” Tomlinson.
• Coach Raffo’s 200th win came back in the 2015 SBC Tournament and tied him with Richard Johnson for third most wins, while his 201st victory, that also came in the 2015 Sun Belt Conference Tournament moved him ahead of Johnson.

NEWCOMERS GALORE
• The A-State baseball team welcomes 16 newcomers to the 2017 team as they join 15 returning letter winners and three redshirts.
• Seven of the newcomers are from junior colleges, while nine of the kids are high schoolers.
• Freshman left-handed pitcher and Sunday’s scheduled starter Collin Cahill was listed as the fifth-best freshman in the league by D1Baseball.com (full article:
https://d1baseball.com/analysis/2017-conference-previews-sun-belt/ with a paid subscription)
• The preview from D1Baseball.com also mentions transfer catcher Justin Felix and says, “He is their most projectable pro prospect, a 6.85 runner, with home run power who handles pitchers well.”
• 12 of the 16 newcomers have made an appearance this season.

BREAKING DOWN THE RED WOLVES
• The 2017 version of the Red Wolves features 19 players from Arkansas with four apiece coming from Missouri and Tennessee. There are two players each from Arizona and Washington, with one player from each of Colorado, New Mexico, and South Dakota.
• A-State has five seniors, 15 juniors, three sophomores, and 11 freshmen.
• There are three redshirts from a season ago with RS-Senior Derek Birginske returning from an injury he suffered last season. The Russellville, Ark., native has pitched and played in the outfield at A-State, but is expected to only play outfield this season. The other two redshirts were pitcher Brandon Stuckenschneider and Drew Tipton, who were both true freshmen a season ago.
• A-State added two sets of brothers in freshmen Chase and Colten Nix (Benton, Ark.) and
Conrad and Cullen Ray (Germantown, Tenn.). The Rays are the son of former A-State football player Mike Ray, while Chase and Colten give A-State three players from Benton along with Coulton Lee.
• Speaking of three’s, A-State added three true freshmen from Star City, Ark., in Garry Hill, Austin Powell, and Blake Wynn. The trio led the Bulldogs to a 2015 4A State Championship. The Red Wolves also picked up three junior college transfers from New Mexico Military Institute in Justin Felix, Alex Howard, and Winston Welch. That trio was coached by former A-State assistant coach Chris Cook.

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