Game Notes: @AStateBaseball Heads to Memphis
|Arkansas State at Memphis
April 11, 2017 | 6:30 p.m.
Memphis, Tenn. | FedExPark
Radio: 95.3 FM The Ticket | TV: None | Video: GoTigersGo.com ($)
| Video/Audio | Live Stats | Tickets | Game Notes: A-State | Memphis
A-STATE/MEMPHIS SERIES HISTORY
• A-State and Memphis have played 148 times in history with A-State trailing the series 57-90-1. The two teams have only not played in four seasons since 1948 with those years being 1973, 1983, 1985, and 1986. A-State lost the first meeting to Memphis 10-2 in 1948 before winning the second game that season 4-2. A-State swept the two meetings in 1949 before Memphis won two meetings each in 1950 and 1951. The tie between the two squads was a 6-6 draw in 1965.
• Memphis did the bulk of their damage from 1968-1991 by holding a 45-12 advantage over the Red Wolves during that time frame. However, since the 1992 season, A-State holds a narrow 26-24 edge over the Tigers after winning the two meetings last season.
• Head coach Tommy Raffo is 9-6 against the Tigers during his tenure. The team lost to Memphis16-8 in his first game against them, but bounced back to win 8-7 in 10 innings during thesecond meeting in 2009. The two squads have split two meetings four times since Raffo took over. A-State won the lone contest in 2011 and went 2-0 in 2014 against the Tigers, but Memphis won both meetings in 2015 before A-State won both in 2016. A-State claimed an 11-5 victory on March 29 last season in Memphis. Bo Ritter earned the win for the Red Wolves with five innings of one-run baseball, while Matt Burgess was 2-for-4 with three RBIs, including a two-run homer, and Ty White went 4-for-5 with two RBIs and three runs scored. Arkansas State was able to win the home contest too by a score of 4-3. Adam Grantham tossed five innings out of the bullpen, only allowing two unearned runs to earn the win, while Burgess led the team with three hits and a RBI. Daltan Lovell and Tim Seldomridge also drove in a run apiece.
• Memphis enters the game with a 20-12 mark and is 2-4 in the American Athletic Conference. The Tigers were swept by Connecticut most recently, but won their past two midweek games by scores of 6-0 and 18-7 over Belmont and Alcorn State, respectively.
NOTES FROM GEORGIA STATE SERIES
• A-State swept Georgia State by scores of 14-1, 4-2, and 10-5 April 7-9 and evened the all-time record against the Panthers at 6-6.
• Bo Ritter was called upon to make a spot start in Friday’s game and delivered a career-high 5.1 innings of one-run ball with a career-high nine strikeouts against one walk. Grant Hawkins and Garrett Rucker both drove home three runs in the game, while Alex Howard became the second A-State player to reach double-digit doubles with his 10th, which ranks him in a tie for fourth-most in the Sun Belt Conference. Justin Felix is tied for the lead with 12 on the year. Joe Schrimpf had his fourth sacrifice bunt of the season in the game to give him 36 in his career, a new school record passing the 35 by Dustin Jones from 2011-14. He added another in the second game to give him five for the season, tied for the team high, and 37 in his career.
• The Red Wolves scored seven runs in the bottom of the eighth inning in the April 7 contest against Georgia State, which is the most the team has scored in one inning all season. The team had six-run innings against Northwestern State (Feb. 26) and SEMO (April 4).
• A-State played its first home game on ESPN3 this season in the saturday contest that Peyton Culbertson dominated with a career-high eight innings, which was also the longest outing by an A-State pitcher this year, of two-run ball with a career-best 11 punch outs against just two walks. The 11 K’s are also the most by a Red Wolves’ pitcher this season and the most since March 20, 2015 when Tyler Zuber struck out 13 at Georgia Southern.
• A-State got some timely hits in the Saturday game against GSU with Justin Felix registering his first triple of the season and the team’s 10th. He knocked in a run on the hit, which proved to be the winning run. The 10 triples rank in a tie for first in the league.
• Tyler Zuber pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his fourth save of the season, which ranks in a tie for fifth most in the league. The four saves are already more than 2016 saves leader Tanner Ring (3).
• The series finale saw A-State win 10-5 and steal a season-high eight bases. The eight steals are the most since 2002 and just two off the school record of 10. Grant Hawkins and Jake Bakamus each stole two bases, while Joe Schrimpf also stole a base, his first of the season and first since the 2015 season.
• Tyler Mitzel earned his first career win in the Sunday game after lasting a career-high 6.2
innings. Tanner Kirby and Tyler Zuber combined to throw the final 2.1 and kept Georgia State off the scoreboard.
• Garrett Rucker and Jake Bakamus led the team with two RBI apiece in the Sunday win, while Grant Hawkins was the only player to have multiple hits in the game with two.
• After the series, Joe Schrimpf has raised his on-base percentage to .496, which is third best in the league and 25th in the country. Schrimpf has also only struck out 10 times on the season, which is once per every 10.2 at bats. That number ranks fourth in the SBC and 125th in the nation. He is also tied for second on the team with 24 walks.
RUCKER WINS SBC PLAYER OF THE WEEK
• Senior outfielder Garrett Rucker won his first career Player of the Week award April 10 after hitting .429 with an on-base percentage of .478 and 11 RBI. Three of his eight hits went for doubles as he slugged .579. He also stole two bases and scored six runs.
• Additionally, he didn’t make an error in A-State’s 4-1 week and made a fantastic diving catch in the April 8 game against Georgia State with his back to home plate. The play made No. 7 on Sportscenter’s Top 10 list.
• He was also named the Sun Belt Player of the Week by College Sports Madness.
• This is A-State’s second Player of the Week award after Jeremy Brown earned the honor on March 21. It’s the first time since 2015 that A-State has had multiple Player or Pitcher of the Week honors in the same season when Joe Schrimpf won Player of the Week once and Tyler Zuber and Jon Glidewell were each Pitcher of the Week. It’s the first time since 2006 that A-State has had two Player of the Weeks in the same season (Brett Kinning and Josh Yates).
NOTES FROM SEMO MIDWEEK SERIES
• Arkansas State split a two-game midweek series with Southeast Missouri April 4-5 with a 10-1 win in Jonesboro followed by a 10-4 loss to the Redhawks in Cape Girardeau. The two teams were supposed to play March 7 in Jonesboro, but it was postponed due to rain, and play in Cape Girardeau on April 4. Instead the teams opted to play in Jonesboro Tuesday for the makeup game and then at Southeast Missouri on April 5. A-State is now 36-34 against SEMO all-time.
• Bradey Welsh made his second straight impressive midweek start as he earned his first career victory in the 10-1 win over the Redhawks April 4. He went a career-high seven innings and allowed just one run on four hits with one walk and five strikeouts. Over his last three appearances, all starts, he’s thrown 16 innings and has an ERA of 1.69 in that time frame with a 13-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio. In the process he’s lowered his season ERA from 24.30 to 5.59.
• Aside from Welsh, the biggest storyline in the Tuesday win was that eight of A-State’s 11 hits went for doubles, which was one shy of the school record set twice in 2006 (4/8 vs. UALR and 5/7 vs. WKU). Garrett Rucker and Tobias Johnson each had two doubles apiece, while Grant Hawkins, Alex Howard, Drew Tipton, and Justin Felix had one. The two doubles for Johnson were the first two extra-base hits of his career, while Rucker tied a career-high with four RBI in the game.
• A-State was ahead 4-1 entering the bottom of the sixth inning, but scored six runs with two outs in the inning to put the game away. Drew Tipton and Garrett Rucker each had two-run doubles in the frame, while Joe Schrimpf singled one home and Justin Felix doubled another in.
• Wednesday’s game didn’t go quite as well as Tuesday’s did for A-State. The Red Wolves managed to score first on a two-out double by Justin Felix, his 12th of the season which ranks as first in the SBC and 26th in the nation, in the top of the fourth inning. However, SEMO went ahead in the bottom of the fifth inning by a score of 2-1. Joe Schrimpf singled home a run in the top of the sixth to tie things up again. Schrimpf has now reached base in 15 straight games and also owns a seven-game hitting streak, both of which are the longest streak by an A-State player this season.
• However, the Redhawks scored four in the bottom of the seventh to make the score 6-2 with A-State scoring a pair of runs on RBI singles by Garrett Rucker and Justin Felix to cut the score in half in the top of the eighth. However, SEMO scored four more times in the bottom of the eighth to take a 10-4 lead and held on to win by that score.
• A-State used six pitchers in the game with Chase Nix getting the loss. The last pitcher used was Derek Birginske, who made his first appearance of the season. He gave up four runs, though only one was earned, on two hits, two walks, and one punch out in the bottom of the eighth. J.D. Rainwater pinch hit in the top of the ninth and hit a single to right-center field for his second hit of the season.
THE RUNNIN’ RED WOLVES
• A-State has the 19th most steals nationally with 53 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. The Red Wolves stole nine bases in the series against Georgia State April 7-9, with eight of them coming during the 10-5 win on April 9. The eight steals is a new season high and is two shy of the record 10, which has been done twice (once in 1953 and once in 1952).
• A-State only had 48 steals a season ago, and has now passed that mark this season. 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 a 15-for 17 mark stealing with the 15 steals ranking as 23rd most in the country and second most in the conference. Garrett Rucker has 10 steals on the year to rank eighth in the conference, while Drew Tipton and Jake Bakamus are tied for third most with seven apiece. 12 different players have stolen a base for the team this season.
PUNCHING THEM OUT
• The Red Wolves are third in the SBC with 287 strikeouts and that comes out to a 9.2 strikeouts per nine innings ratio that is third in the league and 27th in the country. However, the Red Wolves are first in the league as a team with 99 strikeouts looking with Coastal Carolina as the next closest team at 81.
• Bryan Ayers is eighth in the conference with 44 punch outs, while Tyler Zuber is tied for ninth with 43 despite only throwing 30.2 innings so far this season. Additionally, Ayers is first in the league in strikeouts looking with 22 issued, while Peyton Culbertson is tied for fifth with 16.
• Bryan Ayers is third in the league with an 11.00 strikeouts-per-nine 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 52 times this season, which is the most in the conference and sixth in the nation. A-State was hit by four pitches in the Georgia State series with three coming in the April 8 game.
• Jake Bakamus has already been hit 13 times and ranks fifth 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 10 HBP’s to rank 27th in the nation. Jeremy Brown is third on the team and fourth in the league with seven on the year, while Alex Howard and Drew Tipton are next with six hit-by-pitches each, which ranks as a tie for ninth in the Sun Belt Conference. 12 different players have been hit with a pitch for the Red Wolves this season.
248 AND COUNTING FOR RAFFO
• A-State head coach Tommy Raffo is now 248-243-1 in his ninth season. The 248 wins are the third most in school history behind Bill Bethea (311) and J.A. “Ike” Tomlinson (363).
• 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.
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.