LAFAYETTE, La. (5/23/13) — The Arkansas State baseball team fought elimination and received an outstanding performance for junior pitcher Bradley Wallace on the mound in a 10-4 victory over Western Kentucky Thursday after morning at the Sun Belt Conference Tournament.
The Red Wolves offense bounced back after a slow start in the opening game to score 10 runs on 12 hits. Logan Uxa led the charge with three hits for ASU, while Derek Birginske drove in two runs and Alex Potts also had two hits.
ASU will now play at 3 p.m. on Friday against the loser of the game between top-seeded Troy and No. 4 Florida Atlantic.
On the mound, Wallace was masterful in his first career start in the postseason. The junior faced one over the minimum through his first five innings and gave up just four runs on five hits. He also struck out seven and walked just two on the afternoon.
A-State took an early lead after scoring a run on a wild play in the second inning. With runners on first and second, Potts hit a back toward Edwards on the mound that deflected off his leg and into right field. Uxa scored from second on the play after he slid under the tag at home plate to give the Red Wolves an early 1-0 advantage.
The Red Wolves took advantage of two more WKU errors in the fourth inning to score four runs and build a five run advantage. Uxa was involved in another play at the plate when Potts attempted a sacrifice bunt up the third base line, but the throw from Hilltoppers’ third baseman sailed wide of first base and went up the first base line, which allowed Uxa to score all the way from first base.
The wild inning continued with Dustin Jones in the next at-bat when he singled to left, but the ball got by Adam Lavelle and rolled all the way to wall. Jones, who was hustling all the way, scored on the play after sliding underneath the tag at home plate and gave the Red Wolves a 5-0 lead.
Jones was credited with one RBI on the play after Birginske scored from second on the single and Potts and Jones each came around to score on the error.
Arkansas State added two more in the fifth on a two-run RBI triple by Derek Birginske. It was the first triple and RBIs of the freshman’s career, who has started both of the postseason in left field for the Red Wolves.
The runs continued to add for A-State in the sixth inning. Western Kentucky cut into the lead Red Wolves’ with a run in the top half of the inning, but ASU scored three in the bottom half of the frame to take a 10-1 lead.
Kevin Fitzpatrick delivered the inning’s first run with an RBI single that plated Potts. Ryan Roberts followed two batters with an RBI single that scored Fitzpatrick from second and Uxa drove in his first run of the tournament with an RBI single of his own. Roberts also tried to score on the hit, but was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.
The Hilltoppers got to Wallace in the seventh inning after he gave up a run and then loaded the bases with just one out. John Koch came in of relief and gave up a 2-run single but shut down the Hilltoppers from that point on to give ASU the victory.