JONESBORO, Ark. (4/10/12) - Designated hitter Claude Johnson broke a 2-2 tie with a one-out, RBI single in the seventh to lift the Arkansas State Red Wolves (19-15) to a 4-2 victory over the Memphis Tigers (15-18) Tuesday night at Tomlinson Stadium and Kell Field.
Johnson's single drove in center fielder Michael Faulkner, who walked to lead off the inning. Second baseman Zach Maggio scored on a Memphis throwing error on Johnson's base hit to make 4-2, and ASU pitchers Brandon Farley and John Koch shut down the Tigers in the final two innings to preserve the win.
Farley retired all three batters he faced in the eighth, and Koch came on in the ninth to strike out three batters and earn his seventh save of the season and 11th of his career, tying the ASU single-season and career saves record in the process. Koch's seventh save of the season ties the previous record set by Randy Walker in 1981. The 11 career saves tie the record set by Blake Ring in 2003-05 and Tim Egart 2006-07.
ASU starter Cody Woodhouse threw five scoreless innings for the Red Wolves, striking out four while giving up just two hits. Junior Morgan Croft (3-1) picked up the win in relief, striking out four batters in one and one-third innings. Croft gave up no runs on one hit and walked two. In all, six ASU pitchers combined to strike out 13 batters on the night.
"It was a good effort, a quality effort," said ASU head coach Tommy Raffo. "We got a good start out of Cody Woodhouse and then we had some guys out of the pen that really battled. Memphis responded with two runs in the sixth, and we answered right back at them in the sixth and seventh."
"Koch threw quality strikes at the end of the ballgame," added Raffo. "That is what he is all about right now."
Arkansas State took a 1-0 lead in the first when Johnson got aboard with a two-out double and scored on a bloop single to right field from left fielder Logan Uxa.
Memphis scored twice in the sixth, getting RBI hits from left fielder Adam McClain and first baseman T.J. Rich, before ASU tied the game at 2-2 with a run in the bottom of the inning when third baseman Alex Potts drew a bases loaded walk.
Johnson went 3-for-4 with an RBI to lead the Red Wolves at the plate, while McClain was 2-for-4 with an RBI to lead Memphis.
The Red Wolves will return to action this weekend when they host the Hilltoppers of Western Kentucky in a three-game, Sun Belt Conference series. The action will get underway Friday, April 13 at 6:00 p.m.