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Game Notes: @AStateBaseball Travels to Louisiana-Lafayette

By: ArkansasState
Release: 04/12/2017
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Arkansas State at Louisiana-Lafayette
April 13-15, 2017 | 6:00 p.m.; 6:00 p.m.; 1:00 p.m.
Lafayette, La. | M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field at Russo Park

Radio: 95.3 FM The Ticket | TV: None | Video: None
Video/Audio |  Live Stats | Tickets Tickets | Game Notes: A-State | Louisiana

A-STATE/LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE SERIES HISTORY
• A-State trails the all-time series with the Ragin’ Cajuns 39-79. The first meeting between the schools happened in 1972 as members of the Southland Conference. The Ragin’ Cajuns won the first three meetings that season in Jonesboro, didn’t play in 1973, and won the first two meetings of 1974 before A-State claimed its first victory in the series 6-2 in Lafayette, La., during the 1974 campaign.
• Arkansas State earned its first three-game series victory over Louisiana-Lafayette in 1975 by taking two out of three games in Jonesboro. ULL won two-of-three the following season, but A-State was able to win another three-game series in 1977. However, the Red Wolves didn’t win two games in a season against the Ragin’ Cajuns until 1992 (2-4) and didn’t pick up a series victory again until 1995 when the team took two-of-three in Jonesboro. A-State has swept the season series twice with the team going 2-0 against ULL in 2004 and 3-0 in 2008.
• Head coach Tommy Raffo is 12-16 against the Cajuns during his tenure. The Red Wolves earned the season series victory in 2009 (2-1) and 2010 (3-1) with one win in 2010 coming in the SBC Tournament. A-State went 2-2 against Louisiana in 2011 and also took two-of-three from ULL in 2012 under Raffo. However, since then, A-State is only 3-11 against Louisiana-Lafayette. The Red Wolves went 1-4 against the Ragin’ Cajuns last season with the last two losses coming in the conference tournament. A-State won the first game of a three-game series in Jonesboro 7-6 by holding off the No. 27 Cajuns after jumping out to a 7-0 advantage. Tyler Zuber picked up the win on the mound and Tanner Ring registered a save, while Matt Burgess drove in three runs. However, Louisiana responded by winning the final two games by scores of 5-2 and 6-1 to earn the series win. The two teams met in the first round of the conference tournament with the Ragin’ Cajuns earning a 7-4 win. A-State struck out a school-record 20 times in the game, but was tied 4-4 in the bottom of the eighth before ULL’s Kyle Clement hit a three-run homer to set the final. Daltan Lovell homered in the game and A-State was able to force starter Gunner Leger to throw 100 pitches in five innings. The two teams met again a few days later on May 28 and A-State raced out to a 6-0 lead in the bottom of the first, but couldn’t hold on as the Ragin’ Cajuns stormed back for a 17-10 win to end the Red Wolves’ season.
• Louisiana enters the weekend with an 18-14-1 record and 7-4-1 mark in the West Division that puts them second. The Ragin’ Cajuns lost to LSU 3-2 in midweek action Tuesday night after going 1-1-1 against Coastal Carolina last weekend. The Cajuns won game one 1-0 before the Chanticleers came back to win game two 9-8. The two teams then tied the getaway game at 7-7 due to Louisiana’s travel schedule.

NOTES FROM MEMPHIS MIDWEEK GAME
• The Red Wolves defeated Memphis April 11 by a score of 11-4 at FedExPark and improved to 58-90-1 all-time against the Tigers.
Joe Schrimpf homered twice in the game to tie him with Justin Felix for the team lead at five, after Felix also left the yard against the Tigers. The two-homer game by Schrimpf was the first of his career and the first for an A-State player since Stuart Levy accomplished the feat on April 18, 2015 at ULM.
• Additionally, Schrimpf has now recorded 30 RBI on the year to give him to give him 132 for his career, which ranks as the sixth most in school history and just seven away from tying Todd Baumgartner’s record of 139.
• Schrimpf ran his on-base percentage to .510 for the season after the game, which ranked as second in the league and 14th in the nation April 12. Additionally, he’s the third toughest player to strike out in the league with one strikeout every 10.5 at-bats. He’s only struck out 10 times this season and has 26 walks and has been hit by 11 pitches.
Brandon Stuckenschneider earned the first win of his career in the first start of his career with a pitch-count victory after throwing 4.1 innings and allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits with four walks against a career-high four strikeouts. Bo Ritter tossed three scoreless innings out of the bullpen, while Tanner Kirby made his team-high 17th appearance and didn’t allow a run in two-thirds of an inning.
Derek Birginske hit his second double of the year and drove in his second run of the season.

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).

THE RUNNIN’ RED WOLVES
• A-State has the 20th most steals nationally with 55 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 stole two bags in the April 11 contest at Memphis.
• 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 16-for 18 mark stealing with the 16 steals ranking as 17th most in the country and tied for most in the conference. Garrett Rucker has 10 steals on the year to rank eighth in the conference, while Jake Bakamus is third on the team with eight after swiping one against Memphis. 12 different players have stolen a base for the team this season.

PUNCHING THEM OUT
• The Red Wolves are third in the SBC with 294 strikeouts and that comes out to a 9.2 strikeouts per nine innings ratio that is third in the league and 31st in the country. However, the Red Wolves are first in the league as a team with 100 strikeouts looking with Louisiana-Lafayette 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 second 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 57 times this season, which is the most in the conference and fifth in the nation. A-State was hit by four pitches in the Georgia State series with three coming in the April 8 game before being hit by five pitches against Memphis April 11.
Jake Bakamus has already been hit 14 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.
Joe Schrimpf is second on the team and second in the conference with 11 HBP’s to rank 22nd in the nation. Jeremy Brown is third on the team and fourth in the league with eight on the year, while Alex Howard and Drew Tipton are next with seven hit-by-pitches each, which ranks as a tie for sixth in the Sun Belt Conference. 12 different players have been hit with a pitch for the Red Wolves this season.

249 AND COUNTING FOR RAFFO
• A-State head coach Tommy Raffo is now 249-243-1 in his ninth season. The 249 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.

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