A-State, which now holds a 6-1 record on the season, scored 14 runs on 14 hits, while the Leathernecks fell to 2-4 after posting six runs on eight hits.
“I’m proud of our guys for their effort today,” ASU head baseball coach Tommy Raffo said. “Typically a team will make one or two runs at you in a game and they made some runs at us in the middle part of the game, but we were a little bit better in the later innings.”
Senior Seth McWilliams earned his second win of the season after he entered the game in the sixth inning and proceeded to pitch 2 1/3 innings of shutout baseball to earn the win. The 5-foot-11, right-hander struck out four and did not allow a hit in his time on the mound.
A-State jumped out to a 6-0 leader after the first three innings, but Western Illinois plated three runs in the top of the fourth inning to pull within 6-3. A-State starter Adam Grantham struck out the first batter he faced in the fourth inning, but allowed the next five batters to reach base before being lifted from the game.
The Leathernecks added another run in the top of the fifth inning and then tied the score in the sixth. The Red Wolves responded in the bottom half of the inning when Ryan Emery drew a bases loaded walk to give ASU a 7-6 lead.
ASU added four more runs in the seventh inning when Alex Potts scored on a wild pitch and Logan Uxa followed with a three-run home run on the next pitch to give the Red Wolves a 11-6 lead. A-State tacked on three more runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to set the final. Potts helped plate a run to start the inning after being hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and Kaleb Brown followed with a single to left field that scored Stuart Levy. Ethan Yeo drove in the game’s final run when he drew a bases loaded walk that scored Dustin Jones.
“Our guys did a good job of working the count at times and delivered some clutch hits there at the end,” Raffo said. “It was just a real positive day at the plate for us.”
Arkansas State jumped out in front in the bottom of the first inning when Emery drove in two runs with a single to right field to give the Red Wolves a 2-0 advantage. The lead grew to 6-0 in the bottom of the third inning after Johnson hit a three-run home run down the right field line and Levy doubled home a run to give ASU an early 6-0 lead.
Grantham threw three shutout innings for ASU, before running into trouble in the middle of the fourth inning. A-State used six pitchers on the afternoon, while Western Illinois sent seven pitchers to the mound.
Uxa led ASU at the plate, going 3-for-4 with three RBIs, while Johnson went 1-for-3 with three RBIs and three walks. Emery finished the afternoon 2-for-3 with three RBIs, while Brown, Yeo, Levy and Potts each finished with an RBI.
A-State will travel to Nashville, Tenn., on Tuesday, Feb. 26 for a mid-week game against Vanderbilt. First-pitch is set for 4 p.m.