JONESBORO, Ark. (2/22/11) – The Arkansas State baseball team had big innings in the sixth and seventh to pick up its first win of the season in its home opener, 8-4, over Murray State Tuesday at Tomlinson Stadium and Kell Field. ASU improved to 1-3 on the season while Murray fell to 0-4.
“It helps to get a win at home after a tough weekend,” said ASU head coach Tommy Raffo. “We had a neat student section and had some great people in the stands and to come out in the later part of the game and play better and pick up the win was pleasing.”
The Thoroughbreds jumped out to a 1-0 start in the second inning when third baseman Paul Ritzheimer was driven in by center fielder Elliot Frey on a two-out single.
The Red Wolves evened the game at 1-1 in the fifth when left fielder Logan Uxa singled through the left side to bring in first baseman Jordan Castaldo.
Murray State again took a one-run lead 2-1 in the top of the sixth when second baseman Travis Isaak hit a lead-off double and was driven in by first baseman Jacob Rhodes.
ASU then posted two big innings scoring four runs in the sixth and three in the seventh.
Centerfielder Michael Faulkner led the sixth inning off with a bunt-single, Faulkner then advanced to third on a throwing error by Murray pitcher Kyle Cornett. Third baseman Zach Maggio then drove in Faulkner to even the score at 2-2.
Second baseman Todd Baumgartner then walked and advanced to second, Maggio to third, on a passed ball. Castaldo then walked before right fielder Ryan Emery drove both Baumgartner and Maggio home to take the Red Wolves first lead of the game, 4-2. Maggio was driven in on a ground out by DH Daniel Short to give the Red Wolves a 5-2 advantage heading into the seventh.
ASU added three runs in the seventh after Faulkner and Maggio pulled off a double-steal, after singling and being walked to lead off the inning. Baumgartner drove in Faulkner on a sacrifice fly and Maggio scored when catcher Tyler Smith grounded out. Castaldo was then driven in when Emery doubled to give the Red Wolves an 8-2 advantage.
Murray State mounted a slight comeback in the ninth inning but ASU was able to limit them to just two runs and Bradley Wallace struck out three to close out the game for the Red Wolves.
Brad Allen pitched well through 5.1 innings for ASU striking out five while allowing just two earned runs on seven hits in his first start of the 2011 season. The Thoroughbreds starter Tyler Beers notched eight strikeouts and was perfect through four innings before giving up two hits and a run in the fifth.
John Koch picked up the win for ASU pitching 1.2 innings allowing just one hit and no runs against seven batters faced. Kyle Cornett picked up the loss for Murray State giving up four runs on two hits in the fifth inning.
Faulkner and Emery led the Red Wolves with three and two hits respectively while Emery notched three RBI for ASU and Faulkner picked up two stolen bases. Castaldo also had one hit and three runs scored for the Red Wolves.
ASU continues midweek action at Ole Miss on Wednesday, first pitch at Swayze field is set for 3 p.m. against the Rebels.