JONESBORO, Ark. (3/8/13) – The Arkansas State baseball team improved to 9-4 on the season and 7-1 at home with a 2-1 victory over the University of Alabama-Birmingham (6-8) in 11 innings Friday night.
Senior second basemen Alex Potts lifted a 3-2 pitch to right-center field to score Logan Uxa for the game-winning and walk-off run that set the final score. Uxa reached on a fielder’s choice earlier in the inning after Claude Johnson led off with a single. After Stuart Levy struck out, Uxa advanced to second on a wild pitch from Blazer pitcher Chase Mallard to set up Potts’ two-out heroics in the bottom of the 11th inning.
“He’s a gamer, he really studies the game, and does a really good job of watching things to use his power of observation to get things done,” ASU head coach Tommy Raffo said of Potts. “It’s something that as an older player he’s taking advantage of making an adjustment and hats off to Alex for coming through with a big clutch hit for us.”
The only other A-State run came in the bottom of the sixth inning after Johnson reached on an error with one out. Johnson was bunted over to second by Uxa and senior catcher Ryan Roberts drove home Johnson with a double down the right field line.
Senior Daniel Wright pitched well in the start for ASU. Wright allowed one run, earned, on seven hits and recorded six strikeouts while walking two. UAB’s lone run came in the bottom of the third inning. The Blazers loaded the bases with no outs and after a strikeout, John Frost hit a sacrifice fly to center field to plate Wes Kent. UAB was caught stealing second base by Roberts to end the threat.
Senior Seth McWilliams pitched well in relief for the Red Wolves allowing no runs on two hits and striking out five, while walked zero. Senior John Koch earned his first victory of the season after pitching a scoreless top half of the 11th inning by allowing one hit and striking out one batter.
“This was a grinding type game and there were punches thrown back-and-forth tonight,” Raffo said. “That’s the kind of game it was tonight and we just caught the break at the end. Typically on Friday nights you see the best pitching and you just have to find ways to win a game whether it’s on defense, on the mound, or executing offensively.”Arkansas State wraps up its series with Alabama-Birmingham Saturday with a doubleheader scheduled to begin at 1:00 p.m. The second game will begin 30-minutes after the conclusion of the first game. A-State sends sophomore Chandler Hawkins (1-0, 0.00 ERA) to the mound for his first start of the season against sophomore James Naile (2-1, 3.86 ERA) of UAB in the first game. Junior Bradley Wallace (2-0, 3.24 ERA) is scheduled to start the second game of the doubleheader and final game of series for the Red Wolves, while UAB hasn’t announced a starter yet.