MOBILE, Ala. (5/23/14) – The Arkansas State baseball team avoided elimination for the second straight day and with a 12-0, run-rule victory over Troy in the 2014 Sun Belt Conference Baseball Championship Tournament night at Stanky Field on the University of South Alabama campus.
The third-seeded Red Wolves (32-26) scored in four straight innings, including an eight-run sixth, to run-rule the sixth-seeded Trojans (25-42) and eliminate from the tournament for the second straight year.
Arkansas State advances to play UT-Arlington Saturday afternoon at 12:30 and should the Red Wolves win that game they would play another game against the Mavericks that afternoon. Currently game two is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., but if Louisiana-Lafayette defeats Texas State in the morning’s first game, the if-necessary game between A-State and Troy would be 75-minutes after the conclusion of the first one.
A-State starter Chandler Hawkins turned in seven innings of shutout baseball and limited Troy to just three hits. He needed just 66 pitches to get through the game and faced just three over the minimum on the night.
He retired 10 of the first 11 he faced and gave up just one hit through the first three innings. He got two double play balls on the night improved to 5-5 on the season with the win.
Leading 1-0 in the fourth inning, the Red Wolves got a spark of offense from an unlikely source. Senior shortstop Dustin Jones hit a two-run home run that energized the A-State attack. Jones, who has three career home runs and two in the SBC Tournament, also tied the Arkansas State record for games played at 227 and finished the night 2-for-4 with two RBIs.
After scoring a run in the in the fifth, the Red Wolves broke the game open with an eight-run sixth inning. Eleven batters came to the plate in the frame and six runs were scored before the first out of the inning was recorded, and the Trojans committed three errors along the way.
Joe Schrimpf scored the first run of the inning when Lucas Feddersen hit a ball that bounced off the glove of Troy first baseman Tevin Hall. Feddersen advanced to second on a wild pitch, but the throw from the Trojans’ catcher sailed into the outfield and Jones score easily to make it a 6-0 game.
Hawkins closed the door in the seventh by inducing a 6-4-3 groundball double play and then got Ali Knowles to groundout to Jones for the game’s final out.
The junior left-hander from Bartlett, Tenn., helped the save the A-State bullpen after seven pitchers had been used through the first two games of the tournament. Hawkins also became the first Red Wolves pitcher to toss a complete this season and the first to throw one in the tournament since Daniel Wright in 2013.
Arkansas State manufactured a run home in the third inning after Feddersen drew a leadoff walk. Derek Birginske moved him into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt and he came around to score on a double by Baker.
Baker finished the night 2-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored, while Feddersen was 1-for-2 with two runs scored and a walk.
Matt Burgess finished 1-for-2 with an RBI groundout in the fifth and scored twice.
Seven of the nine A-State batters had a hit on the night and eight scored at least one run.
Saturday’s games can be heard on 95.3FM The Ticket/970AM and on AStateRedWolves.com. Live video streaming will also be available on SunBeltSports.org on the Tournament Central page and will be shown on ESPN3.com.
For in-game updates follow @AStateGameDay on Twitter and stay up to date with A-State baseball by following the team on Twitter (@AStateBaseball) and Facebook (Facebook.com/RedWolvesbaseball).