MONROE, La. (4/9/10) – Arkansas State (19-11, 9-4) belted out a season-high 21 hits and put runs on the board in each of the first seven innings as the Red Wolves rolled to a 15-3 victory over the Warhawks of Louisiana-Monroe (12-18, 3-7) Friday night at Warhawk Field.
Designated hitter Ryan Emery had a career-high five hits and three RBI’s, while center fielder Michael Faulkner and second baseman Giovanni Garcia each had four hits to lead the ASU offense. Junior starter Andy Ferguson (3-2) threw seven and one-thirds innings to get the win and give the Red Wolves a 1-0 advantage in the three-game Sun Belt Conference weekend series.
Ferguson threw 105 pitches before the Warhawks were able to get on the board in the eighth, striking out seven batters on the night while giving up two runs on nine hits and three walks. Garcia drove in four runs on the night, and Faulkner went to the plate eight times to tie a 50-year-old school record and collect his four hits. Faulkner’s eight at-bats tied the school record set by Bill Smith in 1960.
“I am very pleased with our overall performance tonight,” said ASU head coach Tommy Raffo. “Andy Ferguson kept putting up zeros on the board and we kept adding on runs with good at-bats.
The Red Wolves sent eight men to the plate in their first at-bat, coming away with three runs on four hits. Emery, right fielder Todd Baumgartner and catcher Kyle DeGrace all delivered RBI singles, all with two outs on the board to score ASU’s three first-inning runs.
The Red Wolves added two more in the second to go up 5-0. Faulkner singled and scored from first when Garcia doubled off the left-center wall, and first baseman Murray Watts drew a bases-loaded walk to bring home the second run of the inning.
Garcia singled in another run in the third to go along with an RBI triple from third baseman Jordan Castaldo, which extended his team-high hitting streak to 20 games, and a run-scoring single in the fourth from Faulkner lifted the Red Wolves to an 8-0 advantage.
Emery came through with RBI singles in the fifth and sixth innings to extend the A-State lead to 10-0, and a two-run double down the third base line from Garcia in the seventh made it 12-0.
Home runs from second baseman Judd Edwards and designated hitter Josh Gill put ULM on the board in the eighth, and the Warhawks added their third run later in the inning when left field Kelvin York was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
Emery, Kimball and catcher Tyler Smith all drove in runs in the ninth to push the Red Wolves’ lead back to 12 runs at 15-3.
The Red Wolves will go for the series victory when the two teams square off again Saturday at 4:00 p.m.