Game Notes: @AStateBaseball Hosts LR to Conclude Regular Season
|Little Rock at Arkansas State
May 18-20, 2017 | 6:30 p.m.; 6:30 p.m.; 1:00 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 | Little Rock
A-STATE/LITTLE ROCK SERIES HISTORY
• A-State leads the all-time series with Little Rock by a count of 74-45 in a series that began in the 1975 season with A-State winning both contests in Jonesboro by scores of 4-3 and 6-1. The Trojans made the trip to Jonesboro again the following season and A-State took both contests by counts of 4-1 and 4-2. The two schools didn't play again until 1980 when Little Rock earned its first two victories in the all-time series by scores of 7-4 and 7-2 in Jonesboro.
• The two teams played several times throughout the early 80's, but have played in each season from 1987 through the present. The two teams because foes in the Sun Belt Conference in 1992, but the five games during the 1992 campaign didn't count as league games. A-State won the first two games by scores of 7-2 and 2-1 in Little Rock before sweeping a three-game set in Jonesboro later in the year by scores of 12-5, 20-7, and 23-7. Since then all of the games played between the two games have counted on the conference standings or occurred during the SBC Tournament, although the two teams have only met once in the conference tournament (a 13-10 A-State loss in 2000).
• Head coach Tommy Raffo is 25-11 against Little Rock all time. The team won two-of-three in Little Rock to close out the 2009 season in his first three meetings against them. The Trojans won the series 2-1 in 2010 and won two-of-three in the first series of 2011, but A-State reeled off 13 straight victories against Little Rock, including four series sweeps from the second series of 2011 through the first game of the second series during the 2013 campaign. The Trojans won two in a row to end the regular season that year to take the series. A-State swept Little Rock in the first series of 2014 under Raffo's watch, but lost two-of-three to the Trojans in Little Rock before the Red Wolves won the 2015 season's series in Jonesboro two games to one. Last season, A-State took two of three from the Trojans in Little Rock. A-State dropped game one 9-4 before bouncing back to win games two and three (12-10 and 15-11) in comeback fashion. The Red Wolves trailed 8-3 entering the eighth inning, but scored three in the eighth and six in the ninth in game two to win 12-10. Ty White had three hits and four RBI in the game, while Jeremy Brown registered four hits as A-State tallied 19 base knocks as a team. Bo Ritter earned the win with two scoreless innings out of the bullpen. The third game was somewhat similar with A-State trailing 10-7 entering the top of the ninth, but the Red Wolves scored eight runs in the inning, including a grand slam by Matt Burgess (the last grand slam hit by A-State) to take the 15-11 win. Four different players had three hits for A-State, which ended the game with 18.
• Little Rock enters the series with a 21-31 mark and lost a 5-1 decision to Central Arkansas Tuesday night. However, the Trojans are coming off a three-game sweep of Georgia State and had won four straight prior to losing to the Bears.
NOTES FROM OLE MISS MIDWEEK GAME
• A-State shutout Ole Miss 5-0 May 16 at Tomlinson Stadium to improve to 25-84 all-time against the Rebels and mark the second straight season the Red Wolves have defeated Ole Miss in Jonesboro. Tommy Raffo is now 3-16 all-time against Ole Miss.
• A record crowd of 1,188 watched the Red Wolves defeat Ole Miss May 16. It was the largest crowd in school history, eclipsing the previous record of 1,143 on May 13, 2014 against Ole Miss. It is the fifth time in A-State history that 1,000 or more fans have attended a game.
• Bryan Ayers tossed seven shutout innings for his second quality start of the year. He allowed four hits and walked one while striking out four and improved to 3-5 on the year. The seven inning outing is his longest of the season and tied his career high set against Saint Louis on Feb. 27, 2016 in the second game of a doubleheader. Tyler Zuber completed the shutout with two scoreless innings and struck out three. Zuber hasn't allowed a run in 16 of his 22 appearances this season.
• Alex Howard led the offensive effort with three hits, including his team-best 13th double. He also knocked in two runs. Jeremy Brown, Jake Bakamus, and Drew Tipton also had a RBI.
• The shutout for the Red Wolves was their third of the season and second in three games. The three shutouts for the team is the most since the 2014 season when the team had four. The Red Wolves had two shutouts a season ago.
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.
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).
• Tyler Zuber is the team's leader in strikeouts with 65 in just 42 innings of work, which comes out to a 13.93 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 65 strikeouts are 12th most in the league.
• Zuber has six saves this season, which is tied for 8th most in the league. He has 12 career saves to rank as the second most in school history behind John Koch's 20. The six saves is also tied for the fourth-most in a single season in A-State history.
• Additionally, the White Hall, Ark., native has made 86 appearances to rank as the third most in school history in a career. He also has 243 strikeouts in his career, which is just eight off from tying Rusty Bourg for the second most in Red Wolves' history.
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, but wasn't hit against Ole Miss May 16.
• 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.
254 AND COUNTING FOR RAFFO
• A-State head coach Tommy Raffo is now 254-255-1 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.