UT Martin

March 6
6:00 p.m.
Tomlinson Stadium
Jonesboro, Ark.

Arkansas State
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Quick Pitches
A-State improved to 5-3 on the year with its first weekend series win of the year at New Orleans. The Red Wolves dropped a 2-1 decision in 11 innings in the first game of the series before winning 12-3 and 6-3 in the final two games of the set. The games against the Privateers were the team’s first road games of the season.
All four of A-State’s starters last week posted quality starts. Nate Alberius posted his second of the season against Mississippi Valley State in the midweek before the weekend rotation of Bradey Welsh, Coulton Lee, and Peyton Culbertson all followed suit. The Red Wolves have six quality starts this season after registering only 10 a season ago.
Freshman Jaylon Deshazier made his first career start March 3 in left field and went 4-for-5 with a grand slam, double, and seven RBI. The seven RBI were one shy of tying the school record.
Tuesday’s game against UT Martin was added late to the schedule after A-State lost four of its first nine games to inclement weather.
The Red Wolves were only able to get five contests of their nine-game home stand to open the season in as the three-game series against UAB was cancelled along with the Feb. 28 game against MVSU.

A-State vs. UT Martin In-Depth Series History
A-State leads the all-time series with UT Martin by a count of 33-15-1. The series began in 1981 when A-State defeated the Skyhawks by one run in both games (3-2 and 5-4). The only tie in the series occurred the following year in Jonesboro by a score of 5-5. Arkansas State then won the return trip to Martin, Tenn., by a score of 6-4.
UTM’s first win in the series came in 1983 in Martin when the Skyhawks claimed a 7-2 win over the Red Wolves. The two teams played every year from 1981-1987 with the exception of 1985 with A-State holding a slight edge at 6-5-1.
The teams resumed the series in 1993 with a split of two games and played each season from 1993 through 2011. The two teams then played in 2013, but tomorrow’s matchup is the first since then. A-State is 27-10 in those matchups, but the series is tied at 6-6 since the beginning of the 2006 season. The two teams played three times in 2006 with UTM taking two-of-three from the Red Wolves.
Head coach Tommy Raffo is 3-2 against UT Martin in his career. Teams coached by him lost the first two games to the Skyhawks by scores of 6-2 and 17-12 in Martin, Tenn., in the only meeting of 2009 and the first meeting of 2010. A-State bounced back to defeat UT Martin 8-3 in Jonesboro in the second game of 2010 and won the lone meetings in 2011 (5-3) and 2013 (9-0) with both games being played at Tomlinson Stadium.
UT Martin enters the midweek game at 2-9 and has its fair share of battles with the weather as well this season. The Skyhawks were slated to travel to Pine Bluff, Ark., to face UAPB, but had to cancel the series due to weather. The team wound up traveling to Southern Miss where they defeated the No. 13 Golden Eagles 13-10 in the final game of the series after dropping the first two. UTM then cancelled a midweek game with Lipscomb and had to move its home series with Cincinnati to the Bearcats’ home field.

Notes from New Orleans Series
A-State improved to 27-50 all-time against New Orleans by winning two-of-three against the Privateers March 2-4. Head coach Tommy Raffo is now 6-3 all-time against UNO.
The Red Wolves lost the series opener 2-1 in 11 innings in the team’s first extra-inning contest of the season. Bradey Welsh posted his second quality start of the season and allowed his first run of the year. He went a career-high eight innings with five strikeouts against one walk and three hits allowed.
The March 3 game was a coming out party for the offense as the Red Wolves scored a season-high 12 runs on a season-best 15 hits in the 12-3 win over UNO to even the series.
Jaylon Deshazier made his first career start March 3 and did not disappoint as he went 4-for-5 with seven RBI. He hit the first grand slam of the season for A-State and the seven RBI were one shy of tying Shane Eaker’s record he set in 1992 against Little Rock. He also had a two-run double and run-scoring single in the game. The Pine Bluff, Ark., native added two more hits in the series finale to give him six hits in the first 10 at-bats of his career. The seven RBI are the most by a player during the Tommy Raffo era at A-State.
The pitching was also solid again March 3 with Coulton Lee picking up his first win of the season and posting a quality start. The Benton, Ark., native allowed three runs in six innings with three strikeouts against two walks. Bo Ritter checked in to pitch the final three innings of the game and earn the save. The Hot Springs, Ark., native didn’t allow a run on two hits with two walks and one strikeout.
Logan Andersen also had a four-hit game March 3 and scored three runs, the most by an A-State player this season.
Peyton Culbertson kept the solid efforts on the mound rolling March 4 by tying his career high with eight innings of one-run ball to earn his first win. The quality start gave A-State four quality starts during the week. Jesse Kutzke came in to get the final out of the game for his second save of the season with a strikeout after UNO was able to send the tying-run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth.
Tobias Johnson swatted his first career home run in the top of the first. He added two more RBI later in the game for a career-high three runs driven in. Caleb Squire also picked up the first two hits of his career and first two RBI of his career in the win. Grant Hawkins stole a base to give him a team-high five on the season.

Notes from Mississippi Valley State Game
A-State improved to 1-1 all-time against the Delta Devils with a 9-0 win to avenge last season’s 10-9 loss to MVSU. The two teams were scheduled to play Wednesday, but the game was cancelled due to rain. The shutout is the second of the season for the Red Wolves and only one behind the amount the team posted all of last season.
Nate Alberius posted his second quality start in as many outings with seven innings pitched and no runs allowed on four hits with no walks and nine strikeouts. For his effort he earned his first A-State victory. Tanner Kirby tossed a scoreless eighth and Bryan Ayers put a zero on the board in the ninth in his first action of the season.
Logan Andersen stole his first career base as a member of the Red Wolves while Grant Hawkins stole three to give him a team-high four, which is also tied for sixth most in the Sun Belt. It also tied his career high for stolen bases in a game when he did the same last year in the second game of a doubleheader against NYIT on Feb. 18.

Wacky Walk-Offs
With Arkansas State’s 7-6 walk-off win over Southeast Missouri, the team now has 27 walk-off victories since Tommy Raffo became head coach in 2009. However, the walk-off HBP was the first of its kind during that time frame.
14 of those walk-offs have been singles, the last coming when Justin Felix knocked in the winning run of A-State’s 9-8 win over Little Rock in 18 innings May 19, 2017. A-State has won on three walk-off wild pitches under Raffo, while errors, sacrifice flies, fielder’s choices, and home runs have happened twice. Only once has the walk-off win occurred on a walk and a hit-by-pitch.
The two home runs were a three-run homer by Zach George against ULM April 6, 2012 for a 7-6 win and a solo shot by Alex Potts to beat FAU March 23, 2013 by a score of 3-2 in 10 innings.
Head coach Tommy Raffo’s first victory was a walk-off win against Texas State in Arlington, Texas against Texas State when Josh DeMoney singled home Cody Pace for a 4-3 win in 10 innings.
Since 2014, the walk-off wins have been less traditional with only five of the 11 being singles. During that time frame, two have been via wild pitch and fielder’s choice, while the other two were on a sacrifice fly and hit-by-pitch.
Five of the walk-off wins have been by scores of 4-3, while four have been by scores of 3-2 and now 7-6, each. A-State has had one walk-off victory by a 1-0 score, which was March 15 vs. SIU in 10 innings when Jack Bakamus scored on a walk-off wild pitch. The highest scoring walk-off win was a 13-12 win May 26, 2016 against Troy. Tanner Ring capped A-State’s comeback in the SBC Tournament game after the team trailed 12-4.

Rain, Rain Go Away
A-State’s weekend series with UAB was cancelled due to heavy rainfall after the series was set to begin Saturday, Feb. 24 with a doubleheader after Friday’s game was moved. However, it didn’t stop raining much throughout the weekend and field conditions were too poor to play.
The Red Wolves also had to cancel the second game of a two-game midweek series against Mississippi Valley State Feb. 28 due to inclement weather.
This is the first entire weekend to be wiped out due to weather since the 2006 season when A-State was scheduled to play ULM and Mississippi Valley State to open the season. However, the whole weekend was cancelled due to weather, but A-State was able to get Henderson State to come play a single game on Sunday for its season opener.
Hopefully this year goes better than 2015 when A-State had 26 games altered in some form to due to weather. That season the team opted to travel to Emerson, Ga., to play No. 7 Louisville (where A-State won two of three) instead of going to Natchitoches, La., to play Northwestern State and Creighton one weekend because of the threat of bad weather. Then the Red Wolves first conference series against UT Arlington was moved from Jonesboro to Jackson, Miss., because of snow and ice in the Northeast Arkansas area.
With the four cancelled games against UAB and Mississippi Valley State, along with Feb. 17’s Illinois State contest having to be moved to a Sunday doubleheader, the team has already had five games altered due to weather

263 and Counting for Raffo; New Faces on Staff
A-State head coach Tommy Raffo has a career record of 263-259-1 as he is currently in his 10th season at Arkansas State. The 263 wins are the third most at the school behind J.A. “Ike” Tomlinson and Bill Bethea.
Raffo has a completely new staff to assist him this season. Rick Guarno joined the staff as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator with his most recent stint at UT Martin. Guarno played seven seasons of professional baseball before getting into coaching.
Rowdy Hardy is the team’s new pitching coach and comes to A-State from New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell, N.M. He played six seasons of professional baseball before getting into coaching.
Volunteer assistant Craig Massoni rounds out the staff and he just concluded his playing days after five seasons of professional baseball.