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Game Notes: @AStateBaseball Set for Two vs. SEMO

By: ArkansasState
Release: 04/03/2017
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Southeast Missouri at Arkansas State
April 4-5, 2017 | 6:00 p.m.; 6:00 p.m.
Jonesboro, Ark.; Cape Girardeau, Mo. | Tomlinson Stadium/Kell Field; Capaha Field

Radio: 95.3 FM The Ticket | TV: None | Video: Red Wolves Digital Network ($); OVC Digital Network
Video/Audio |  Live Stats | Tickets Tickets | Game Notes: A-State | SEMO

A-STATE/SOUTHEAST MISSOURI SERIES HISTORY
• A-State is 35-33 all-time against Southeast Missouri State in a series that began during the 1959 season. Arkansas State claimed a 3-1 victory in that game, but it is not known where the game took place. SEMO bounced back to claim an 11-2 win in the 1960 game, but A-State won five straight contests from 1961 to the first game between the two schools in 1963. The Red Wolves won three games in the 1962 season against the Redhawks, including a 6-2 win in the South west Regional. SEMO broke the streak with 4-0 and 5-4 wins to end A-State’s 1963 campaign.
• More recently, the teams had split 30 games since 2000 evenly at 15-15 before SEMO’s two victories last season put the tally at 17-15 in favor of the Redhawks. The two teams have met twice every year since then except for in the 2006 and 2007 seasons when the two teams just played once in Jonesboro each season. The Redhawks won the first five meetings, before an A-State 6-1 win in Cape Girardeau broke the streak in 2002. The Red Wolves won five straight meetings during that time span from 2005 to the first game the two teams played in 2008.
• Head coach Tommy Raffo is 8-8 against Southeast Missouri in his career. A-State won both meetings in his first season in 2009 by scores of 12-1 and 17-11 before splitting in 2010. The Red Wolves won three straight (two in 2013 and first meeting of 2014) for Raffo’s longest winning streak against SEMO. Last season Southeast Missouri won 4-2 in Cape Girardeau after A-State held a 2-1 lead in the eighth inning. However, pinch hitter Chris Osborne hit a three-run homer off of closer Tanner Ring to give the Redhawks a 4-2 lead with two outs in the inning and SEMO held on to win by that score. Bryan Ayers started and struck out eight in six innings, while Jacob Lawrence pitched for Southeast Missouri and allowed one run in 6.2 innings. A week later on April 12 the two teams met in Jonesboro and the Redhawks won a much more high-scoring affair by the count of 13-8. Lawrence earned the win while Bo Ritter took the loss. Matt Burgess and Tanner Ring homered for the Red Wolves, while Joe Schrimpf drove in four runs.
• The two teams were supposed to play in Jonesboro on March 7, but the game was postponed. The original return trip for the Red Wolves was scheduled for April 4, but the teams decided to play in Jonesboro on that day before playing another game on April 5. SEMO enters the two- game set with a record of 14-11 and they are 6-6 in Ohio Valley Conference play after winning two-of-three against Austin Peay, who defeated the Red Wolves 9-8 on a walk-off March 22.

NOTES FROM TEXAS STATE SERIES
• Arkansas State took two out of three games at Texas State to improve to 11-5 all-time against the Bobcats, while Tommy Raffo is now 11-4 against the team. Texas State came into the series at 16-9 with a 5-1 mark that led the West Division.
• The Red Wolves hit three home runs in each of the two games the team won to tie the season high, which was set back on March 22 in the 9-8 loss to Austin Peay. Garrett Rucker hit a monster shot to dead center field off the batter’s eye for the first one in Friday’s first game before Justin Felix and Drew Tipton added homers later in the 13-7 A-State win. Felix is now tied with Jeremy Brown for the team lead in home runs with four. The Red Wolves lost game two Friday 16-7, but bounced back for an 8-7 win Saturday with Joe Schrimpf, Drew Tipton, and Grant Hawkins all homering in that game. It was the third home run of the season for all three players, while it is Schrimpf’s 14th of his career to lead active players. Schrimpf’s was the go- ahead three-run homer in the seventh inning when A-State trailed 2-1, while Tipton added a two-run shot and Hawkins followed with a solo shot to give A-State back-to-back jacks for the first time this season. Their runs proved to be important as the Red Wolves held on for an 8-7 victory to take the series. The six home runs in the series are the most the team has had in a single three-game series since April 8-10, 2011 at ULM when the team also had six.
Joe Schrimpf tied his career high with four runs scored and set a season high in the 13-7 win in the first game of the Friday doubleheader. Justin Felix tied a season high with three runs scored. Bo Ritter tossed 3.1 shutout innings out of the bullpen to earn the win after allowing just two hits. It was his first win of the season and fourth of his career, while Tanner Kirby went the final 3.2 innings to earn his second save of the season and fourth of his career. The 13 runs tied the most in a game for the Red Wolves this season with the 13-5 win over NYIT Feb. 19.
• A-State dropped game two 16-7 with Chase Nix logging a career-best four innings on the mound out of the bullpen. He allowed four runs (two earned) on four hits. Jake Bakamus
registered three hits in the game and drove in two, while Derek Birginske tied his career high with two hits in the contest, which he’s done eight times.
Garrett Rucker tied a career high with three hits in the series finale on Saturday, while Drew Tipton set a new career high with three in the 8-7 win along with a career-high two RBI. Grant Hawkins tied his career high with three runs scored, while Joe Schrimpf had three RBI to get to 23 on the year, which is just one RBI behind Justin Felix and Jeremy Brown for the team high. Tyler Zuber earned the win with four innings out of the bullpen to improve to 3-0, but allowed five runs, the first time this season he’s allowed more than one run in a game. Zuber now has a career record of 17-8. Tyler Mitzel started and registered a good start with five innings and just two runs allowed on three hits with two walks and five strikeouts.

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.

TRIPLE THREAT
• Arkansas State has hit nine triples so far this season, which is the most in the Sun Belt
Conference and 43rd in the nation.
Garrett Rucker has already hit four triples, including one March 19 against ULM, to lead the league and rank 11th 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 32nd most steals nationally with 41 on the year and is third 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. However, Garrett Rucker stole the only base in the series against Texas State in the team’s only attempt.
• 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 34th most in the country and third most in the conference. Garrett Rucker has eight steals on the year to rank ninth 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 244 strikeouts and that comes out to a 9.3 strikeouts per nine innings ratio that is third in the league and 23rd in the country. However, the Red Wolves are first in the league as a team with 86 strikeouts looking with Coastal Carolina as the next closest team at 73.
Bryan Ayers is seventh in the conference with 44 punch outs, while Tyler Zuber is tied for ninth with 40 despite only throwing 27.2 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 12.
Tyler Zuber is second in the league with a 13.01 strikeout per nine ratio that ranks as second in the conference and 14th in the nation. Bryan Ayers is third in the league with an 11.00 mark. Additionally, Zuber ranks as second in the conference and 30th in the nation in WHIP 0.87. The White Hall, Ark., native is fourth in the league in ERA at 1.95 and second in the SBC along with 16th in the nation with a 4.88 hits allowed per nine innings mark.

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 46 times this season, which is the most in the conference and 7th in the nation. A-State was only hit three times in the series against Texas State.
Jake Bakamus has already been hit 12 times and ranks third 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 27th in the nation. Jeremy Brown is third on the team and fifth in the league with six on the year. 12 different players have been hit with a pitch for the Red Wolves this season.

244 AND COUNTING FOR RAFFO
• A-State head coach Tommy Raffo is now 244-242-1 in his ninth season. The 244 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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