JONESBORO, Ark., (4/22/11) – Senior first baseman Jordan Castaldo sent the fourth pitch he saw over the right field fence in the top of the eighth inning giving the Arkansas State baseball team a 2-1 advantage, one it held onto through the ninth inning to take the opening game of its Sun Belt Conference series over Florida Atlantic on Friday at Tomlinson Stadium and Kell Field.
The win pushed ASU to 18-23 with a 6-10 Sun Belt record while FAU took its record to 23-15 with the loss and 10-6 in league play.
The Owls took a 1-0 lead when Raymond Church walked to lead off the fourth inning and scored when Joey Burkhalter hit a two-out RBI single to center field.
ASU evened the game at 1-1 when Zach George hit into a fielder’s choice plating Logan Uxa who had walked and reached third on a throwing error by Church.
Castaldo’s home run broke the scoreless tie in the eighth before ASU closed out FAU in the ninth.
“Obviously keeping the game close versus a very good team that was picked first preseason in conference, they’re a very good hitting club and they had opportunities also, that’s the way the game goes sometimes,” said ASU head coach Tommy Raffo. “They did get a two-out hit, but at the same time we made some plays behind made some pitches when we needed too, got out of some jams and pushed the game to the very end and had an opportunity on a very nice ball that Castaldo hit to close it out.”
Michael Faulkner, Zach Maggio, Todd Baumgartner, Castaldo and George each recorded one hit for the Red Wolves who outhit FAU 5-3 and were perfect in the field while the Owls committed three errors.
Cory Kyle (4-3) took the win for the Red Wolves pitching 5.0 innings in relief of starter Andy Ferguson. Brandon Farley came in to face FAU in the ninth picking up his second save of the year, allowing just one hit.
The Red Wolves and FAU continue their three-game Sun Belt Conference series on Saturday with a contest set to begin at 4 p.m. (CST).