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A-State dropped to 11-18 on the season with a pair of losses to Memphis April 10 and April 11.
Arkansas State got solid pitching performances in the two games versus Memphis with Zachary Patterson throwing a career-best 5.1 innings in the April 10 game with only two runs allowed while Carter Holt went four innings in his first career start April 11. Holt allowed five runs, but all were unearned.
Kyle MacDonald raised his batting average to .374 on the year, which ranks fourth in the league and 83rd in the nation. MacDonald’s on-base percentage stands at .496 on the year now, which is tops in the Sun Belt Conference and 24th overall in the country.
The Red Wolves rank inside the top 100 in the country in walks, hit-by-pitches, and on-base percentage. A-State’s 153 walks is 57th most in the nation, while its 46 HBP’s is 43rd. The team’s OBP is .373 to rank 92nd.
A-State vs. UT Arlington In-Depth Series History
A-State trails UT Arlington 38-44 in the all-time series that began with a 12-2 victory by Arkansas State in the 1969 season. A-State also won the second game that season 2-0 and won the first six games against the Mavericks before UT Arlington won five in a row to get on the board in 1971 and 1972.
The two schools competed as Southland Conference foes until the 1987 season with A-State leading the way 30-28. The two teams competed 10 more times as non-conference members after that with UT Arlington holding a 7-3 advantage in those games, including a 5-4 win over A-State in Tommy Raffo's second game as head coach in 2009.
Head coach Tommy Raffo is 5-10 against the Mavericks in his career with 14 of those matchups coming after UT Arlington joined the Sun Belt Conference in 2014.
Last season, the Red Wolves were swept in a three-game series by the #23 Mavericks May 5-7 by scores of 11-7, 15-3, and 2-0. The first game of the series saw UTA starter Kadon Simmons knocked out in the first inning after allowing five runs, while A-State’s Bryan Ayers didn’t do much better with six earned runs allowed in 1.1 innings. Derek Birginske drove in two runs, while Drew Tipton had three hits. UTA jumped out to a 10-0 lead to cruise to the 15-3 win with Trae Patterson on the mound. He allowed three runs in six innings, but all three were unearned. The series finale was a close game, but A-State only had three hits. However, A-State got revenge in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament with a 4-2 victory to oust UT Arlington from the single-elimination event and advance to the semifinals. A-State got three runs off of Patterson and Tyler Mitzel and Tyler Zuber combined to pitch 8.2 innings of one-run ball in the game. Joe Schrimpf and Alex Howard had two hits.
UT Arlington enters the weekend with a 16-16 mark after splitting a pair of midweek contests. The Mavericks lost to TCU 6-5 before rebounding with a 4-3 win against No. 23 Sam Houston State in Arlington. The Mavs lead the SBC’s West Division with a 7-5 conference mark.
Notes from Memphis Midweek Series
A-State is now 58-97-1 against Memphis as the 156 meetings between the two schools are the most against any team for Arkansas State.
The Red Wolves were swept by Memphis 4-1 and 6-3, marking the first time since 2015, and only the second time under head coach Tommy Raffo Memphis has accomplished that feat.
A-State could only muster three hits in the opener at Memphis with Drew Tipton collecting two, while Jeremy Brown left the yard for the first time this season and eighth time in his career, which ties him with Justin Felix for most round-trippers among active players with eight.
Zachary Patterson made his second start of the season and allowed just two runs over a career-high 5.1 innings. He struck out three and walked two. Korey Wasson pitched a scoreless inning in relief and hasn’t allowed a run in two straight outings.
A-State’s offense was much better in game two at Tomlinson Stadium as the team out hit the Tigers 11-10, but an error led to five unearned runs as Memphis won 6-3.
Eight of the nine players in the lineup registered hits for A-State with Kyle MacDonald going 3-for-3 and Jacob Jablonski tallying two hits for the second multi-hit game of his young career. The three-hit game for MacDonald was the second of the year. He has 12 multi-hit games to lead the team. Winston Welch drove in two runs to lead the team while Caleb Squire knocked in the other. Welch’s multiple-RBI game was the third of the season for him.
Carter Holt made his first start and lasted four innings on the mound to tie a career high, and allowed five runs, but none were earned. Chase Nix, Payton Lannon, Peyton Culbertson (first relief appearance since 2016), Tanner Kirby, and Coulton Lee all tossed an inning out of the pen with Kirby allowing the lone run. It was Nix’s first scoreless appearance of the season and the fourth for Lannon, who got to throw to his younger brother Andrew Lannon for the second time this season. Lee’s appearance was the 82nd of his career, which has him three away from tying Ryan Hamilton (2001-04) for fourth most in school history.
Notes from Georgia State Series
A-State is now 7-9 all-time against GSU after getting swept April 6-8 and is now 2-7 in games against the Panthers in Atlanta.
The Red Wolves dropped the opener 12-3 after collecting nine hits, all of them from the top four in the order (Grant Hawkins, Kyle MacDonald, Jeremy Brown, and Tobias Johnson). Hawkins had two doubles in the game and led with three hits.
Carter Holt tossed a perfect inning for his first scoreless outing of the season. Chase Nix tied a season high with two innings of work.
A-State dropped a 16-7 decision in game two with Kyle MacDonald and Caleb Squire collecting two hits. Nate Alberius took his second loss of the season, while Korey Wasson pitched a scoreless 1.1 innings in relief.
Kyle MacDonald his his team-best fourth home run in the game and it was a grand slam, the team’s second of the season. The two grand slams are the most in a season since three in 2015 when Jeremy Brown, Joe Schrimpf, and Stuart Levy each hit one. Drew Tipton had A-State’s only slam last season, while Matt Burgess had the only one in 2016.
The team dropped a tough 3-2 series finale Sunday with Peyton Culbertson only able to get six outs for the second straight start. Coulton Lee was fantastic in relief with five innings of one-run ball while Bo Ritter pitched a perfect eighth inning to lower his ERA to 1.96 on the year.
A-State starters entered the series with a 3.56 ERA but were tagged for a 16.00 mark in the GSU series.
Winston Welch reached base in all three games to increase his on-base streak to 13 games, the third best by a player this season, while Jeremy Brown extended his hit streak to eight, the second best this season.
Arkansas State had its third walk-off victory of the season in the March 29 8-7 win over Louisiana when Caleb Squire was hit by a pitch in the bottom of the 12th inning. It is A-State’s 29th walk-off win under Tommy Raffo and only the second by HBP with the other occurring this season when A-State beat SEMO 7-6 on a HBP by Jacob Jablonski. The other walk off this season was a single by Drew Tipton to give A-State a 9-8 win against SIU March 13.
15 of those walk-offs have been singles after Tipton’s hit March 13 versus the Salukis. Before that the last was 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 six of the 13 being singles. During that time frame, two have been via wild pitch, fielder’s choice, and hit-by-pitch, while one was by sacrifice fly.
Five of the walk-off wins have been by scores of 4-3, while four have been by scores of 3-2, 7-6, and 8-7. A-State has had one walk-off victory by a 1-0 score, which was last season versus SIU when A-State won 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 that SBC Tournament game after being behind 12-4.
Three of them have now been by scores of 9-8, but all three have been extra-inning affairs. The first was a walk-off walk by Murray Watts on April 24, 2010 before last season’s 9-8, 18-inning win with Justin Felix’s walk-off single, followed by Drew Tipton’s single to give A-State a 9-8 win in 11 innings over Southern Illinois March 13.
269 and Counting for Raffo; New Faces on Staff
A-State head coach Tommy Raffo has a career record of 269-274-1 as he is currently in his 10th season at Arkansas State. The 269 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.