JONESBORO, Ark. (2/24/2012) - Senior right-hander Jacob Lee struck out eight batters in six innings of work to earn the win as the Arkansas State Red Wolves (2-3) defeated the Evansville Purple Aces (1-2) Friday night in the series opener between the two teams at Tomlinson Stadium and Kell Field.
Lee gave up four hits on the night and walked three. With his first strikeout in the opening inning, he hit the 200-mark for his career and now stands at 207, just 44 short of the all-time record at ASU.
Lee struggled with control in the first inning, walking three batters and hitting another to load the bases with no outs, before surrendering the two early runs. After that, he allowed just three baserunners on the night, none getting farther than second.
"Any time you get out of bases-loaded and no outs with two runs or less, you are doing your job," said ASU head coach Tommy Raffo. "Granted, it wasn't his best inning, but neither of their runs scored on a hit. And the thing that really sticks out in my mind was the job he did from the second to the sixth. That in itself shows a lot of guts, a lot of heart and a lot of desire."
Arkansas State grabbed the lead with three runs in the fourth. Center fielder Michael Faulkner singled, stole second and scored on a single from left fielder Logan Uxa to put the Red Wolves on the board. Third baseman Alex Potts singled to score Uxa, then scored on an Evansville fielding error to put the Red Wolves on top 3-2.
A-State catcher Stuart Levy doubled and scored on a double from right fielder Kaleb Brown in the seventh to give ASU an insurance run and make it 4-2.
The Purple Aces managed to load the bases with two outs in the eighth, but ASU junior John Koch went to the mound and got Evansville pinch-hitter Kyle Pollock to hit into a fielder's choice to get out of the inning. Koch allowed a one-out baserunner in the ninth, but struck out Evansville third baseman Jake Mahon and forced catcher Chris Pearson into a groundout to end the game and earn the save.
Brown, Faulkner, Uxa, Potts, Levy, third baseman Claude Johnson and first baseman Zach George all had one hit for ASU, with George extending his hitting streak to 13 games. Shortstop Eric Stamets led EU with two hits and an RBI.
ASU junior Morgan Croft worked one inning and retired all three batters he faced, striking out one, and senior Brandon Farley worked two-thirds of an inning, giving up two hits and striking out one. Lee, Croft, Farley and Koch combined to give up just seven hits on the night, all singles.
Cole Isom (0-2) took the loss on the mound for Evansville, giving up three runs on five hits, with two walks and three strikeouts in six innings of work.
The Red Wolves and Purple Aces will resume the series tomorrow with a doubleheader beginning at 1:00 p.m. Game four is scheduled for Sunday at 1:00 p.m. as well.