Game Notes: @AStateBaseball Set to Host Ole Miss
|Ole Miss at Arkansas State
May 16, 2017 | 6:30 p.m.
Jonesboro, Ark. | Tomlinson Stadium/Kell Field
Radio: 95.3 FM The Ticket | TV: None | Video: Red Wolves Digital Network
| Video/Audio | Live Stats | Tickets | Game Notes: A-State | Ole Miss
A-STATE/OLE MISS SERIES HISTORY
• A-State trails the all-time series with Ole Miss by a count of 24-84 after suffering a 16-4 loss to the No. 8 Rebels back on Feb. 21. Bo Ritter took the loss after allowing seven runs, while Tanner Kirby and Brandon Stuckenschneider also saw time on the mound. Justin Felix had two hits, while Joe Schrimpf had two RBI. Casey Vaughan hit his first career home run in the game. Colby Bortles had three RBI without a hit in the game, while Will Golsan had four hits. Will Ethridge earned the win and struck out 10 in five innings. Last season, A-State snapped a seven-game losing skid to the Rebels with an 8-6 win over the then No. 6 Rebels at Tomlinson Stadium on May 17, 2016. Zach Haake picked up the win on the mound, while Daltan Lovell went 4-for-5 with his first career home run and drove in two runs. Garrett Rucker also left the yard in the game and Tanner Kirby picked up the save with 2.2 innings out of the bullpen.
• Arkansas State won the first meeting between the two schools by a score of 7-3 in 1951 with Ole Miss taking the second game by a count of 11-4. The Rebels went on to win 12 straight until A-State claimed a 9-8 victory in the second of four games during the 1961 season. The Red Wolves swept two meetings during the 1968 season by scores of 2-1 and 7-6 and didn't sweep the Rebels again until 1978 when A-State won two games by the scores of 6-1 and 7-5 with both games being hosted in Blytheville, Ark. Arkansas State swept Ole Miss during the 1988 season by scores of 6-5 and 13-11 and won the only meeting in 1994 9-4 in 10 innings. A-State won both meetings in 2003 (3-2 and 8-5) and won two-of-three games in 2004 with an 11-7 win over the 10th-ranked Rebels in Oxford before a 9-8 loss at No. 7 Ole Miss. A-State took the rubber game 7-6 over No. 6 Ole Miss later in the year. A-State defeated No. 2 Ole Miss in Oxford early in the 2008 season by a score of 7-5. Along with a win over No. 2 Louisiana- Lafayette in 2014, that is the highest-ranked opponent A-State has ever defeated.
• Head coach Tommy Raffo is 2-16 against Ole Miss all-time with the only two wins being the 10-5 decision in 2012 and 8-6 win last season. During his tenure A-State has dropped five one-run games to the Rebels and another one by two runs.
• Ole Miss enters the midweek clash with a 31-21 record and is 13-14 in the Southeastern
Conference. The Rebels took two of three from No. 19 Texas A&M last weekend. In addition to defeating the Red Wolves back on Feb. 21, the Rebels have played ULM, Georgia State, and Little Rock from the Sun Belt Conference and have a 5-1 record against the league this year. Georgia State collected the only victory 2-0 in 11 innings on March 8 after Ole Miss won 1-0 on March 7.
NOTES FROM GEORGIA SOUTHERN SERIES
• Arkansas State fell to 4-6 all-time against Georgia Southern after losing two of three to the Eagles May 12-14 in Statesboro, Ga. A-State lost games one (7-4) and three (6-1) and won game two (1-0).
• A-State was ahead 4-3 going into the bottom of the seventh in game one, but a four-run inning doomed the team in the 7-4 loss. Derek Birginske extended his hit streak to six games in the loss and hit his first career home run off Evan Challenger in the second inning. He added another hit and drove in another run to tie his career high for RBI with three, which had previously been set back in 2014. Birginske also tied his career high with two runs scored. Tyler Mitzel recorded his first career quality start after allowing three runs on nine hits with three walks and a career high tying seven punch outs, set back on Feb. 26 at Northwestern State. Tim Seldomridge made his second start of the season and had a hit in the game, while Jake Bakamus stole his ninth base of the season, third most on the team. Joe Schrimpf didn't play in this game or all weekend to break a 178-game consecutive start streak. He had been in the A-State lineup in every game since April 25, 2014 at Georgia State.
• The Red Wolves responded with a thrilling 1-0 victory in the second game of the series when Drew Tipton's bloop single found some outfield grass to score Jake Bakamus in the top of the ninth. Bradey Welsh went six shutout innings for his third quality start of the year (tied for most on the team) and struck out five while walking three and allowing three hits. Tyler Zuber entered the game and struck out nine batters in three innings. He allowed an infield single and an intentional walk in the eighth, but was able to strike out the side in all three frames. Eight of the nine strikeouts were swinging and Zuber picked up the win to improve to 4-1 with the four wins tied for the team lead. Zuber hasn't allowed a run in 15 of his 21 appearances this season and has made three straight outings without allowing a run spanning 6.2 innings. J.D. Rainwater drew his first start of the season in the game and had a single. The shutout for the team was their first since the season-opening 6-0 win over NYIT.
• Justin Felix had two hits and a RBI in the 6-1 loss May 14 to the Eagles to lead the offense. Bryan Ayers made a relief appearance, only his second of the season, and tossed a scoreless frame.
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.
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 408, but rank in a tie for second in the league in strikeouts looking with 128, trailing Troy by 11 for the league lead. Additionally, the team has an 8.6 strikeouts per nine innings mark that ranks as fourth best in the league and 47th in the country.
• Tyler Zuber is the team's leader in strikeouts with 62 in just 40 innings of work, which comes out to a 13.95 strikeout per nine innings ratio, which would rank second in the nation behind Louisiana-Lafayette's Wyatt Marks if he had pitched enough innings to qualify. His 62 strikeouts are 14th most in the league. Peyton Culbertson is second on the team with 61 punch outs.
HIT ME WITH YOUR BEST SHOT
• A-State set the school record for hit-by-pitches a season ago with 98 and has been hit 82 times this season, which is the most in the conference and seventh in the nation. A-State was hit by two pitches in the series against Georgia Southern.
• Jake Bakamus has been hit 22 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. The 22 HBP's tie Derek Alferman for second most in a single season in school history, while his 43 career hit-by-pitches ranks as second most in school history behind the school record of 45 by Alferman from 1993-94. Additionally, 12 of Bakamus's HBP's have come in league play.
• Joe Schrimpf is second on the team and fourth in the conference with 12 HBP's to rank 66th 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 13th 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.
253 AND COUNTING FOR RAFFO
• A-State head coach Tommy Raffo is now 253-255-1 in his ninth season. The 253 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.