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A-State is now 15-25 after taking two of three at South Alabama April 27-29. It’s the first series win for the Red Wolves against the Jaguars since 2014.
Junior Nate Alberius won the Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Week award after throwing 8.1 innings and allowing three runs against South Alabama April 28. It was the first weekly award of the season for the Red Wolves and first since Alex Howard was named SBC Player of the Week May 22, 2017. It’s the first SBC Pitcher of the Week award since Jon Glidewell claimed the honor on March 10, 2015.
Kyle MacDonald went 6-for-13 with a double, triple, and two homers against South Alabama last weekend. He drove in seven runs and is now first in the SBC in slugging percentage at .625 and 65th in the nation.
The Red Wolves rank inside the top 100 in doubles with 75 on the year to rank 96th, while the team is 80th in triples with 11.
A-State vs. Texas State In-Depth Series History
A-State leads the all-time series with Texas State by a count of 11-5 in a series that began in 2000. The Bobcats won the first game of the series by a score of 11-8 at a neutral site in Dallas, Texas, as part of the Dallas Baptist University Classic.
The two teams didn’t meet again until 2009 when the Red Wolves defeated the Bobcats 4-3 in 10 innings to begin the season at the UT Arlington Invitational in Arlington, Texas. Josh DeMoney singled home Cody Pace to give the Red Wolves the win in Tommy Raffo’s coaching debut. However, Texas State avenged its loss just two days later by a score of 3-2.
A-State head coach Tommy Raffo is 11-4 against Texas State all-time with all but the first two games coming since the 2014 season when the Bobcats joined the Sun Belt Conference. The Red Wolves took two-of-three over Texas State in 2014 in Jonesboro. A-State lost the first game 5-4 in 12 innings, but bounced back to win the final two games of the set 5-4 and 4-1. In 2015 the Red Wolves traveled to San Marcos for the first time and were able to sweep Texas State by scores of 8-5, 12-10, and 11-10.
The Bobcats came to Jonesboro in 2016 and lost the series to Arkansas State 2-1 after A-State won the first two games 6-1 and 9-6. However, the Bobcats were able to salvage the finale 12-3. The two met in the 2016 SBC Tournament at Bobcat Ballpark in San Marcos, but the Red Wolves were victorious by a score of 4-3 and ended Texas State’s season. Tanner Kirby went the final 6.1 innings out of the bullpen and earned the win after allowing one run on three hits with five strikeouts against two walks.
The 2017 season saw A-State travel to San Marcos where the teams played a doubleheader to begin the series. The Red Wolves won game one 13-7 before losing 16-7 in the nightcap. A-State was able to take the series with a hard-fought 8-7 win the next day. Five Red Wolves hit .400 or better in the three-game set with Garrett Rucker leading the way with a .462 mark. Joe Schrimpf, Drew Tipton, Jeremy Brown, and Derek Birginske were the other four with Tipton hitting two home runs. Bo Ritter and Bryan Ayers didn’t allow a run in 3.1 innings and two innings, respectively, on the mound. Luke Sherley hit .417 for Texas State during the series, while Jonathan Ortega hit two homers.
Texas State enters the weekend with a 22-22-1 mark and is coming off a tough midweek loss to Texas after entering the bottom of the ninth ahead 10-6 the Bobcats gave up five runs, including a walk-off grand slam, to lose 11-10. Texas State’s tie came in a getaway game against UC Santa Barbara by a score of 4-4. The Bobcats have a 10-11 mark in league play and are ahead of A-State in the West Division by four games. Texas State lost two of three to Georgia Southern at home most recently.
Notes from South Alabama Series
The Red Wolves are now 29-70 against South Alabama after taking two-of-three from the Jaguars April 27-29. It was A-State’s first series win over South Alabama since 2014.
A-State took game one over the Jaguars by a count of 6-3. Kyle MacDonald blasted a go-ahead, three-run homer in the top of the ninth, while Bo Ritter came in to get the final two outs for his third save of the season after Coulton Lee went 3.1 innings to earn the win and improve to 3-5 on the season.
Lee is now up to 88 appearances in his career after also pitching in the series finale. The 88 appearances are the fourth most in school history and one behind tying Tyler Zuber’s 89 for third most all-time.
Cullen Ray tied his career high with three hits in the 6-3 series-opening victory. He also had three hits at Missouri State March 11 and at ULM March 24.
The Red Wolves would also win game two by a score of 6-3 after Nate Alberius worked into the ninth inning to improve to 5-2 on the year and post his team-best eighth quality start of the season.
A-State hit three triples in the 6-3 win April 28 for a season high and the most since three against Cincinnati March 4, 2017. Before that game against the Bearcats last season A-State hadn’t had three triples in one game since before the 2002 season.
Grant Hawkins hit the first triple, his team-high third of the season, while Andrew Leggo hit his first career one to score two runs. Leggo has hit a homer and triple this season, but has yet to hit his first career double. Kyle MacDonald added the other triple, his second of the year.
The team couldn’t complete the sweep with a 9-6 loss in the finale, but Kyle MacDonald did hit his ninth homer of the season in the contest. If MacDonald can get to 10 homers, he’d be the first A-State player since Logan Uxa to hit 10 when he did so in 2012.
The Red Wolves used seven pitchers in the series finale with Carter Holt making his third start. Holt went the first three innings and allowed just one run, but six pitchers had to finish it with Chase Nix the only one not allowing a run.
The series finale also saw a close to Jeremy Brown’s 20-game hit streak after he recorded hits in the first two games of the set. He did reach base twice via walk and HBP so he has a 21-game on-base streak now. The 20-game hit streak is tied for fifth longest in school history with Cody Pace (2009), Greg Crow (1995-96), and Kevin Tate (1988-89).
Drew Tipton was able to extend his hit streak to 15 games with hits in all three contests and also owns a 19-game on-base streak. The 15-game hit streak is tied for 15th longest in school history with six players.
Alberius Wins SBC Pitcher of the Week
A-State junior pitcher Nate Alberius took home Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Week honors for his performance April 28 against South Alabama. He went 8.1 innings and allowed three runs on five hits with two strikeouts against three walks. It is his team-high eighth quality start of the season.
He’s the first weekly award winner for A-State since Alex Howard picked up SBC Player of the Week honors in the last week of the regular season last year. However, Alberius is the first A-State pitcher since 2015 to win the award. Jon Glidewell was the recipient of that award March 10, while Tyler Zuber won it two weeks prior.
It’s the 12th weekly award winner since Tommy Raffo took over in 2009 and the seventh time A-State has won Pitcher of the Week.
Notes from UCA Midweek Contest
The Red Wolves are now 20-14 all-time against the Bears after a 12-5 win in midweek action that snapped a six-game losing streak for A-State. Arkansas State travels to Conway May 8.
A-State saw several players extend notable streaks with Jeremy Brown and Drew Tipton extending their hit streaks to 18 and 12 games, respectively. Brown’s is the sixth longest in school history, while Tipton has also reached base in 16 straight games, which is tied with Grant Hawkins for the second longest by an A-State player this season.
Brown swatted his third home run of the season in the contest, while Tobias Johnson hit his fifth home run of the season to put him second on the team in the category. Johnson didn’t have a home run all of 2017.
Drew Tipton set a career high with three runs scored in the contest, while Winston Welch set a career-high with two doubles in the game.
Jeremy Brown drove in four runs to tie a career high. He now has 22 on the year and 120 in his career, which is the seventh most in school history. He is 13 away from tying for sixth most in A-State history with Murray Watts, who had 133 from 2008-10.
Freshman Carter Holt picked up the win by allowing three runs (two earned) in a career-high five innings with two strikeouts and two walks. He is the first true freshman to earn a win for A-State since Collin Cahill did last season against Cincinnati March 5.
273 and Counting for Raffo; New Faces on Staff
A-State head coach Tommy Raffo has a career record of 273-281-1 as he is currently in his 10th season at Arkansas State. The 273 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.