HUNTSVILLE, Texas. (3/1/13) – Senior Ryan Emery drove home the winning run as A-State came back from behind to beat Sam Houston State 5-3 to improve to 7-2 on the young season.
Emery broke open a 3-3 tie with a two-run single in the top of the ninth inning. Austin Baker and Logan Uxa both scored on Emery’s single. The inning started out with a Zach George infield single to second base and Baker pinch ran for George. Dustin Jones bunted Baker over to second and Logan Uxa was intentionally walked to put runners on first and second. After a wild pitch, Claude Johnson was walked to bring up Emery for his clutch single up the middle.
A-State trailed 3-1 going into the top of the eighth inning, but a one out Johnson single started an Arkansas State rally. After Johnson’s single, Emery and Alex Potts walked to load the bases. After a pitching change Collin Massanelli struck out swinging for the second out. Sam Houston State went to their closer Jason Simms and A-State countered with pinch hitter Ryan Roberts. Roberts roped a pitch into center field to bring home Johnson and Emery to tie the score at 3-3.
Sophomore Chandler Hawkins pitched 2.1 innings to earn the win for A-State. He came in to record the last out of the seventh inning for starter John Koch. Hawkins only allowed one hit while walking three and striking out three. Sam Houston State was able to draw two walks from Hawkins in the bottom of the ninth, but the threat ended when third baseman Claude Johnson made a diving stop and threw out Bearkat first baseman Spence Rahn by a step.
"It was fun to see these young men compete and seven, eight, nine have to be our innings to win and we did," ASU head baseball coach Tommy Raffo said. "We had some guys do a really good job, make pitches, make plays, and had some quality at-bats at the end of the game."
A-State struck first in the game with a bases-loaded RBI walk by Johnson that drove home Stuart Levy in the top of the third inning. The lead didn’t last long for the Red Wolves as Carter Burgess drove home two Bearkat runs with a two out double in the bottom half of the third.
ASU threatened to tie the game or take the lead in the top of the sixth inning when Uxa and Johnson led off with singles. After an Emery strikeout, Potts struck out swinging and Uxa was thrown out attempting to steal third base.
The Bearkats tacked on another run in the bottom of the seventh off of a Johnson error and Sam Houston State was able to chase Koch after 6.2 innings. Koch gave up 6 hits, three runs, two earned with four strikeouts and three walks.
"It's huge to take game one on the road against a quality opponent that was in the NCAA regionals last year," Raffo said. "We got our work cut out for us the next two days."The Red Wolves and Bearkats meet tomorrow for the second game the three-game series. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. Probable starters are Daniel Wright (2-0, 1.93 ERA) for A-State and Cody Dickson (1-1, 2.77 ERA) for Sam Houston State.