Game Notes: @AStateBaseball Travels to Georgia Southern
|Arkansas State at Georgia Southern
May 12-14, 2017 | 5:30 p.m.; 5:30 p.m.; 12:00 p.m.
Statesboro, Ga. | J.I. Clements Stadium
Radio: 95.3 FM The Ticket | TV: None | Video: www.GSEagles.com
| Video/Audio | Live Stats | Tickets | Game Notes: A-State | Georgia Southern
A-STATE/GEORGIA SOUTHERN SERIES HISTORY
• A-State trails the all-time series with Georgia Southern by a count of 4-3 with all seven
meetings coming since the 2015 season when the Eagles joined the Sun Belt Conference. All of the meetings have come with Tommy Raffo as head coach of the Red Wolves.
• The two teams split four meetings in the 2015 season with Georgia Southern taking two of three in Statesboro March 20-21 before A-State defeated the Eagles in the SBC Tournament on May 21. A-State won game one of the series March 20 by a score of 3-1 in 13 innings in a game that saw A-State set the school record for strikeouts with 21. Tyler Zuber recorded the first 11 outs of the game via strikeout before ending the night with 13 overall. Coulton Lee struck out three before Colton Kibler struck out five for the record. However, the Eagles won the first game of the March 21 doubleheader 3-2 in 11 innings before winning game two 6-3. Chandler Hawkins pitched 7.2 innings in the 6-1 Red Wolves win in the SBC Tournament that gave head coach Tommy Raffo his 200th career win.
• Last season, the Eagles made their first trip to Jonesboro March 24-26 and came away with a 2-1 series victory. Georgia Southern won game one 8-3 behind a strong outing from Evan Challenger, who allowed three runs in 7.2 innings on six hits with two walks and 10 punch outs. Tyler Zuber allowed seven runs, though only four were earned, in four innings to pick up the loss, while Joe Schrimpf led the A-State offense with two hits and two RBI. A-State was able to win game two 6-5 when Tanner Ring hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth to score Tim Seldomridge. Ring led the team with three hits and two RBI, while Coulton Lee earned the win on the mound. A-State scored four runs off starter Chase Cohen, while Chris Brown took the loss by failing to get an out in the ninth inning and giving up Ring's hit. However, the Red Wolves lost game three 9-7 and were out hit 13-4 in the game. Ryan Cleveland had two hits and four RBI in the game, while Matt Burgess hit a three-run homer in the game. A-State used eight different pitchers in the game.
• Georgia Southern enters the game with a 33-16 record and 15-9 mark in conference play. The Eagles won two-of-three against Louisiana-Lafayette May 5-7. Georgia Southern lost the first game 3-0 before winning game two 6-5 and game three 9-1. The Eagles played Kennesaw State in midweek action and defeated the Owls 6-0 behind a complete-game shutout by Brian Eichhorn. The 15-9 mark in league play places them third in the East Division, but fourth overall among all teams.
NOTES FROM UT ARLINGTON SERIES
• A-State fell to 37-44 all-time against UT Arlington after dropping all three games to the No. 23 Mavericks May 5-7 at Tomlinson Stadium in Jonesboro. It was the first time since 2015 that the Red Wolves were swept in a conference series at home, and that one was a two-game set against Georgia State on March 15. The last time an A-State team was swept in a three-game league series at home was April 12-14, 2013 against South Alabama.
• Both starters struggled in game one with UTA getting to Bryan Ayers for three in the first inning and three more in the second before adding another off Bo Ritter in the inning. Ayers lasted 1.1 innings, but A-State scored five off Kadon Simmons in the bottom of the first as the UT Arlington starter lasted just two-thirds of an inning. A-State would end up losing 11-7 and had two at-bats with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, but struck out in both. Drew Tipton tied a career high with three hits in the game, while tied his career high with two base knocks and also drove in two runs.
• A-State gave up a season-high 21 hits in the 15-3 loss Saturday night to the Mavericks. Joe Schrimpf set the career RBI record with a RBI single in the fifth inning and ended with two hits. Garrett Rucker also had two hits, and Derek Birginske had two hits for the second straight game to tie a career high. Zachary Patterson made his first appearance on the mound since May 6. Alex Howard went hitless in the game to snap a 12-game hit streak, the longest of the season by A-State.
• The Red Wolves were shut out in the series finale 2-0 for the first time since April 13 against Louisiana-Lafayette and the fourth time of the season. A-State only managed three hits in the game. Peyton Culbertson allowed one run in 5.1 innings. Tyler Zuber pitched a perfect 1.2 innings for his 14th scoreless outing of the year in 20 appearances. Zuber now has the fourth most appearances in school history with 84.
NOTES FROM APPALACHIAN STATE SERIES
• A-State won two of three from App State April 28-30 in Boone, N.C., which was the second straight season the team made the trip to North Carolina to play the Mountaineers. A-State dropped game one 7-6 before winning games two and three by scores of 5-3 and 4-1, respectively, to improve to 5-4 all-time against Appalachian State.
• The Red Wolves dropped game one 7-6 to the Apps after putting up two runs in the top of the first, but allowing four in the bottom half. A-State got within one on a couple of instances, but couldn't tie the game or take the lead. Bryan Ayers made his first start since March 31, but only threw the first inning. Bo Ritter relieved him and allowed three runs in a career-high six innings to keep A-State in the game. Jeremy Brown had a two-hit effort, which was his first multi-hit game since April 1 at Texas State, and his 10th of the season. Justin Felix homered in the game to extend his team best total to eight.
• The Red Wolves bounced back to win Saturday's game 5-3 with Bradey Welsh picking up the win to run his record to 3-1 after throwing 5.1 innings. Tanner Kirby came in for 1.2 to bridge the gap to Tyler Zuber, who tossed the final two innings and allowed one hit, while striking out five batters to earn his team-leading sixth save of the season. The six saves is his career high for a season and ranks in a tie for the fourth most in school history. He has a total of 12 saves in his career, a numer that ranks as second most in school history. Jake Bakamus, Grant Hawkins, and Derek Birginske all had two hits in the game. It was Birginske's first multiple-hit game since March 31, while Grant Hawkins had the second of back-to-back two-hit contests. The average for Bakamus dipped under .200 at .198 on April 15, but since then he's 8-for-24 (.333) over his last seven games to raise his batting average to .221.
• A-State was able to take the series with a 4-1 win on Sunday, April 30 behind six strong innings by Peyton Culbertson. He allowed one run on five hits with one walk and five strikeouts to improve to 4-5 on the year and pick up his third quality start of the year, which is the most on the team. Tyler Mitzel entered to throw the final three innings and earned the first save of his A-State career. Mitzel shut out the Mountaineers and didn't allow a hit in those three frames while walking two and striking out three. All but one hitter in the A-State lineup had at least one hit with Joe Schrimpf leading the way with two. Alex Howard had two RBI in the game, while Derek Birginske recorded his third RBI of the season in the game.
• Five players (Jake Bakamus, Grant Hawkins, Jeremy Brown, Joe Schrimpf, and Alex Howard) had a hit in all three games of the series. Howard ran his hit streak to 11 games, which is the longest on the team this season, while Schrimpf has a seven-game streak of his own.
SCHRIMPF SETS RBI RECORD
• Senior infielder Joe Schrimpf became the school's all-time leader in RBI with a run-scoring single in the bottom of the fifth inning in the May 6 game against UTA. It was his 140th of his career to pass Todd Baumgartner's 139 set from 2008-2011. Additionally, he doubled in the bottom of the seventh inning for his 200th career hit, which made him the eighth player to get to 200 hits and also ranks eighth on the all-time career hit list.
• Schrimpf had already set one school record this season by overtaking the school's sacrifice bunt record from Dustin Jones on April 7 against Georgia State. It was his fourth of the year, but the 36th of his career to pass the 35 Jones had from 2011-14. He has since added another two this year and now has 38 in his career.
• The St. Louis, Mo., native is also dotted in several other places in the record books. He's got the third most career HBP's in school history with 41, while ranking third in runs scored with 148. He's got the fourth most walks in school history with 110. Additionally, his seven career triples are tied for seventh most, while he has the sixth most at-bats in school history with 725. He also has the fourth-most total bases in school history with 298.
• Schrimpf has played in 208 career games with 205 starts, including 178 consecutive. He's played every position in the infield, including catcher, during his career at A-State. Schrimpf leads the team with a .333 average, .465 on-base percentage, a .519 slugging percentage, and 39 runs scored. He's second on the team with 30 walks and has only struck out 21 times. He has the second-most RBI with 38 and second most home runs with six.
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).
• The Red Wolves are just seventh in the league in total strikeouts with 381, but rank second in the league in strikeouts looking with 122, trailing Troy by seven for the league lead. Additionally, the team has an 8.5 strikeouts per nine innings mark that ranks as fourth best in the league and 55th in the country.
• Peyton Culbertson is the team leader in strikeouts with 56 on the year, while Tyler Zuber is second with 53 in just 37.0 innings pitched. Bryan Ayers is tied for fifth in the league in
strikeouts looking with 23, while Culbertson ranks tied for ninth with 20. Zuber and Tanner Kirby are just outside the top 15 with 16 strikeouts looking apiece.
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 80 times this season, which is the most in the conference and eighth in the nation. A-State was hit by five pitches in the series against UT Arlington May 5-7 with Jake Bakamus and J.D. Rainwater both being hit twice.
• Jake Bakamus has been hit 21 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. The 21 HBP's tie his total from last year, while his 42 career hit-by-pitches ranks as second most in school history behind the school record of 45 by Derek Alferman from 1993-94.
• Joe Schrimpf is second on the team and fourth in the conference with 12 HBP's to rank 57th in the nation. Jeremy Brown is third on the team and sixth in the league with 11 on the year, while Drew Tipton and Alex Howard are next with eight hit-by-pitches, which ranks as 12th in the Sun Belt Conference. 13 different players have been hit with a pitch for the Red Wolves this season after J.D. Rainwater was hit for the first time this season in the UTA series.
252 AND COUNTING FOR RAFFO
• A-State head coach Tommy Raffo is now 252-253-1 in his ninth season. The 252 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.