|ASU to Face MTSU in First Round of SBC Tournament|
JONESBORO, Ark. (5/20/12) — Seeded second in the eight-team field, the Arkansas State Red Wolves will open play in the 2012 Sun Belt Conference Baseball Tournament at 3:00 p.m., Wednesday, May 23, taking on the Blue Raiders of Middle Tennessee State. The tournament runs May 23-27 at Bowling Green Ballpark in Bowling Green, Ky.
The Red Wolves enter the tournament at 32-21 overall on the season, and at 19-9 in SBC action, finished one-half game out of first place in the final regular-season standings. Middle Tennessee will take the field as the No. 7 seed after finishing the regular season at 14-16 in SBC action and 29-27 overall. Arkansas State won two out of three games against the Blue Raiders to win their SBC series when the two teams met in Murfreesboro April 27-29. The Red Wolves defeated MTSU 8-5 in both the Friday and Saturday games to clinch the series victory, but the Blue Raiders used a two-run walk-off home run in the bottom of the 11th in the Sunday contest to avoid the sweep.
The pool-play format will pit the Red Wolves against Troy (26-29, 14-16) in Arkansas State’s second game, which is scheduled for Friday, May 25 at 3:00 p.m. The Red Wolves won two of three games against the Trojans March 30-April 1 in Troy, losing 7-6 in the series opener before bouncing back to win 16-8 and 5-4 in the final two games to win the series.
Arkansas State will face Florida International at 3:00 p.m., Saturday, May 26 in the final day of pool play. When the two teams met May 11-13 in Jonesboro, ASU defeated the Panthers 7-4 in the Friday contest, but FIU topped the Red Wolves 10-7 and 16-5 in the final two games to take the series, one of only two series losses on the year for A-State.
Arkansas State, MTSU, FIU and Troy are in Pool B, while Florida Atlantic, South Alabama, Louisiana-Monroe and Western Kentucky are in Pool A. The winners of each pool will meet Sunday, May 27 at 1:00 p.m. in the championship game. All games will be streamed live at SunBeltSports.org with the exception of the championship game, which will be televised live by the Sun Belt Network. The championship game will be televised on Suddenlink channel 119 in Jonesboro, other areas should check local listings for availability.
Arkansas State’s 32 wins on the season are the most for any team in the field, are the most for ASU since the 2005 season and are tied for the fourth-most in school history. The Red Wolves’ 19 conference victories are the second-most in ASU history and their second-place finish in the SBC standings is ASU’s highest since the 1993 season, when Arkansas State finished second in the Sun Belt East Division.
Under the direction of Head Coach Tommy Raffo, Arkansas State finished the regular season with a 9-2 weekend series record, including a perfect 4-0 weekend series record on the road. The Red Wolves enter the tournament on a four-game win streak after sweeping in-state rival UALR this weekend and posting a 10-5 victory over No. 22 Ole Miss May 15.
2012 Sun Belt Conference Tournament Seeds (Season Record)
1. Florida Atlantic (31-20, 19-8 SBC) - A
2. Arkansas State (32-12, 19-9 SBC) - B
3. FIU (31-23, 15-14 SBC) - B
4. South Alabama (21-33, 15-15 SBC) - A
5. Louisiana-Monroe (28-27, 15-15 SBC) - A
6. Troy (26-29, 14-16 SBC) - B
7. Middle Tennessee (29-27, 14-16 SBC) - B
8. Western Kentucky (24-31, 13-17) - A
2012 Sun Belt Conference Tournament Schedule
Wednesday, May 23
G1 (5) Louisiana-Monroe vs. (4) South Alabama 11 a.m.
G2 (7) Middle Tennessee vs. (2) Arkansas State 3 p.m.
G3 (8) Western Kentucky vs. (1) Florida Atlantic 7 p.m.
(3 and 6 are off)
Thursday, May 24
G4 (6) Troy vs. (3) FIU 11 a.m.
G5 (1) Florida Atlantic vs. (5) Louisiana-Monroe 3 p.m.
G6 (4) South Alabama vs. (8) Western Kentucky 7 p.m.
(2 and 7 are off)
Friday, May 25
G7 (3) FIU vs. (7) Middle Tennessee 11 a.m.
G8 (2) Arkansas State vs. (6) Troy 3 p.m.
G9* (1) Florida Atlantic vs. (4) South Alabama 7 p.m.
(5 and 8 are off)
Saturday, May 26
G10* (6) Troy vs. (7) Middle Tennessee 11 a.m.
G11* (2) Arkansas State vs. (3) FIU 3 p.m.
G12* (5) Louisiana-Monroe vs. (8) Western Kentucky 7 p.m.
(1 and 4 are off)
Championship Sunday, May 27
G13 Pool A Champion vs. Pool B Champion 1 p.m.
NOTE: All Times Central and Subject to Change
Each game of the championship, excluding the championship on Sunday, will be streamed live on SunBeltSports.org. The championship game on Sunday, May 27 will be televised live by the Sun Belt Network, beginning at 1 p.m. CDT. The tournament champion will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Championship.
* - Home team for games 9-12 will be determined by a pre-tournament coin toss conducted by the head coaches.