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Game Notes: @AStateBaseball Hosts South Alabama

By: ArkansasState
Release: 04/20/2017
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South Alabama at Arkansas State
April 21-23, 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: ESPN3 (Sat.) | Video: Red Wolves Digital Network/ESPN3 (Sat.)
Video/Audio |  Live Stats | Tickets Tickets | Game Notes: A-State | South Alabama

A-STATE/SOUTH ALABAMA SERIES HISTORY
• A-State trails the all-time series with the Jaguars by a count of 26-66 in a series that began during the 1993 season in A-State’s second season in the Sun Belt Conference. All 92 meetings have occurred with both teams as members of the SBC. A-State went 2-4 in both 1993 and 1994 against the Jaguars. South Alabama won 11-10 in 10 innings in Mobile, Ala., in the first game during the 1993 season before a 4-1 victory in the second game. A-State claimed its first win with a 10-9 win in 10 innings. Four of the first 12 games between the two schools went into extra innings.
• South Alabama won more games in the season series every year until 2003 when the Red Wolves went 2-2 against the Jaguars. A-State took two of three from the 25th-ranked Jaguars in Jonesboro that season before falling to USA in the SBC Tournament. Two years later, A-State went 2-1 against South Alabama after claiming two-of-three in Jonesboro.
• Head coach Tommy Raffo is 11-17 against the Jaguars as A-State’s head coach. The team won two out of three in his first series against them in 2009 before he oversaw the team’s first-ever sweep of USA in 2012. The team won the season series 3-1 in 2014 with two-of-three in the regular season in Mobile, Ala., including a 7-6 win in 14 innings. That was also the first time A-State had won a three-game series in Mobile. A-State then won 4-3 in the SBC Tournament in 2014. USA won four out of five meetings in the 2015 season, including two games in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament, the last of which ended the Red Wolves’ season. The Jaguars then swept A-State last year in Mobile and currently hold a six-game win streak over Arkansas State. South Alabama won game one 8-2 and game two 12-7 before a narrow 3-2 victory in game three to complete the sweep. A-State held a 7-6 advantage going into the bottom of the seventh inning in game two before the Jags scored six runs over the final two frames for the win. The series finale saw South Alabama score two unearned runs in the 3-2 win over A-State.
• South Alabama enters the weekend on a three-game win streak after winning the last game of their series with No. 26 Coastal Carolina 4-3 and then defeating No. 11 Mississippi State 5-2 and Alabama State 6-4. The Jaguars lost the first two games of the series to Coastal Carolina 4-3 and 11-9 and enter the weekend 23-15 with a 10-5 mark in Sun Belt Conference play to rank in second place in the East Division.

NOTES FROM LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE SERIES
• The Red Wolves fell to 39-82 all-time against the Ragin’ Cajuns with an 8-0 loss in game one before a 13-2 setback in game two. The teams were tied 2-2 heading into the bottom of the ninth in Saturday’s series finale, but Louisiana won 3-2 on a walk-off suicide squeeze bunt.
Bradey Welsh tossed a career-high 7.2 innings in game one, but gave up seven runs, four coming in the eighth inning, to take the loss. Welsh allowed 10 hits, walked three, and struck out three in his first career weekend start. Grant Hawkins had two hits, including the team’s only extra-base hit, his sixth double of the season. Jake Bakamus was hit twice in the game to give him 16 hit-by-pitches on the year.
Peyton Culbertson only lasted 4.1 innings in the 13-2 game two loss and gave up nine runs. Collin Cahill, Derek Birginske, and Chase Nix also saw action on the mound. Birginske’s two-thirds of an inning represented his second appearance on the mound of the season after it was expected he wouldn’t pitch this season. Nix tossed a perfect inning in his appearance, which was his third appearance without allowing a hit, but first in which he didn’t allow a runner to reach base. Garrett Rucker, Justin Felix, and Alex Howard each had two hits in the game to lead the team. It was Rucker’s team-best 14th game with two or more hits and 11th with exactly two hits, also tops on the team.
• A-State lost a tough game three by a score of 3-2 with Tyler Zuber earning his first lost of the season (3-1) after giving up one run in 1.2 innings of work. Tyler Mitzel started and lasted 4.1 innings before giving way to Tanner Kirby. Grant Hawkins and Joe Schrimpf had the team’s only RBI, while Hawkins, Alex Howard, and Winston Welch had the team’s only hits. Howard ran his hit streak to four games, while Winston Welch picked up the first hit of his career after starting 0-for-25.

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.

SCHRIMPF AND SCHOOL RECORDS
• Senior infielder Joe Schrimpf has 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 this year and now has 37 in his career.
• The St. Louis, Mo., native is also dotted in several other places in the record books. He’s got the second most career HBP’s in school history with 40, while ranking fourth in runs scored with 144. He’s got the fifth most walks in school history with 107 and is tied for fifth in RBI with 133. He’s just six away from tying Todd Baumgartner’s school record of 139. Additionally, his seven career triples are tied for seventh most, while he has the ninth most at-bats in school history with 684.
• Schrimpf has played in 198 career games with 195 starts, including 168 consecutive. He’s played every position in the infield, including catcher, during his career at A-State. Schrimpf leads the team with a .322 average, .478 on-base percentage, and .522 slugging percentage this season and is tied for the team lead in homers (5) and walks (27).

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 29th most steals nationally with 56 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 one base over the weekend at Louisiana-Lafayette in two attempts.
• 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 26th 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 fourth in the SBC with 307 strikeouts which comes out to an 8.8 strikeouts per nine innings ratio that is third in the league and 44th in the country. However, the Red Wolves are first in the league as a team with 103 strikeouts looking with Coastal Carolina as the next closest team at 95.
Tyler Zuber leads the team with 45 strikeouts in just 32.1 innings of work and ranks in a tie for 11th most in the league. Bryan Ayers is second in the league with 22 strikeouts looking, while Randy Bell from South Alabama leads the league with 24. Peyton Culbertson has 16 strikeouts looking this season to place in a tie for sixth most in the conference.
Bryan Ayers is third 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 59 times this season, which is the most in the conference and ninth in the nation. A-State was hit by five pitches against Memphis April 11 before only being hit by two pitches in the series against Louisiana April 13-15 with both coming in the first game against Jake Bakamus.
Jake Bakamus has already been hit 16 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 16 HBP’s are tied for fourth most in a single season in school history with Zach George (2015).
Joe Schrimpf is second on the team and second in the conference with 11 HBP’s to rank 34th 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 eighth 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 249-246-1 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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