|Arkansas State at Coastal Carolina
March 24-26, 2017 | 5:00 p.m.; 1:00 p.m.; 12:00 p.m.
Conway, S.C. | Springs Brooks Stadium
Radio: 95.3 FM The Ticket | TV: None | Video: Chanticleer Sports Network
| Video/Audio | Live Stats | Tickets | Game Notes: A-State | Coastal Carolina
A-STATE/COASTAL CAROLINA SERIES HISTORY
• A-State and Coastal Carolina have never played each other in baseball with this weekend’s series marking the first meetings of all-time between the two schools.
• The Red Wolves have only faced one other team from South Carolina in school history with a 1995 loss to Clemson in Jonesboro by a score of 7-2.
• A-State hasn’t faced a team from South Carolina in Coach Raffo’s tenure.
• Coastal Carolina enters the weekend with a 12-9 record and 1-2 mark in conference play. The Chanticleers have played 17 of their 21 games so far this season at home.
NOTES FROM AUSTIN PEAY GAME
• The Red Wolves’ 9-8 loss to the Governors was the first walk-off decision of the season for the team and dropped A-State’s record against Austin Peay to 8-6 all-time.
• A-State hit three home runs in the game, which is the most by the team in a single game this season, and only the second time A-State has hit multiple homers in one game with the other being the first game of the March 18 doubleheader against ULM. A-State has lost both games.
• Jeremy Brown hit his fourth home run of the season, most on the team, and seventh of his career. Drew Tipton hit the first home run of his career to left field in the top of the fifth inning, while Joe Schrimpf left the yard for the second time this year and the 13th time of his career, which is the most among current players.
• Bradey Welsh made the first start of his career and allowed two first-inning runs, but held the Governors scoreless in his other two innings of work. The three innings pitched are a new career-high for the Marshfield, Mo., native. His previous career high was 2.2 against Omaha on Feb. 28 of last season.
• Junior Bo Ritter pitched four innings and struck out a career-high five batters in the outing, which broke his previous career high of three that he had accomplished several times, the last coming on Feb. 21 at Ole Miss.
• The Red Wolves stole five bases in the fourth inning against Austin Peay, which is the most in a single inning this season with the second most being three against NYIT Feb. 18 in the second game of a doubleheader in the sixth inning. A-State has only stolen five or more bases in an entire game nine times, including this game versus Austin Peay, since 2002.
• Grant Hawkins hit the first two doubles of his career in the game. Hawkins hit a triple and two home runs before hitting his first double at Arkansas State.
• The Red Wolves and Governors were supposed to play Tuesday as well, but had to cancel the game due to rain that moved through earlier in the afternoon. A-State has now had eight games changed in some form or fashion due to weather this year, but the Tuesday game that was cancelled was the first road game to be altered due to weather this season.
NOTES FROM ULM SERIES
• The Red Wolves improved to 37-29 all-time against ULM after winning the last two games of a three-game series against the Warhawks by scores of 12-6 and 8-3 after dropping the first game 5-3.
• Arkansas State has now won 11 conference-opening series as a member of the Sun Belt, but fell to 10-16 in SBC openers with the 5-3 loss. Coach Raffo is 5-4 in conference openers and has won six of nine SBC-opening series in his tenure. This was the first series win to open a season since 2014 and A-State has now lost three straight Sun Belt openers. Friday’s opener got moved to Saturday because of lightning and rain Friday night to mark the third straight season the Red Wolves haven’t been able to play their conference opener on Friday night and had to wait until a Saturday doubleheader. In 2015 A-State had to move its home series against UT Arlington Jackson, Miss., and play a doubleheader due to snow and ice in Jonesboro before last season’s opener at UTA was moved to Friday due to rain that moved through the Arlington area.
• Joe Schrimpf hit .500 and scored four runs during the series and hit a double and his second home run of the season in the opener. Jeremy Brown hit .400 and led the team with six RBI, while Grant Hawkins hit his first two career home runs on March 18, one in each game. The first was a solo shot, while the second one was a two-run round-tripper. Hawkins had three hits, scored three runs, and had three RBI in the second game with the three runs tying a season-high and the other two setting high marks this season.
• Bryan Ayers lasted a season-high 6.1 innings in the opener, but also gave up a season-high 10 hits, both of which were team-highs this year. Tyler Zuber earned his first win of the season in his first decision of the year in the second game March 18 after pitching 3.1 innings and allowing just two hits and striking out two with no walks. Tanner Kirby improved to 4-0 on the season after picking up the win on March 19. He pitched two-thirds of a scoreless inning in game one March 18, but tossed three innings the next day and allowed just one hit and one walk, while striking out one. Zachary Patterson tossed two scoreless innings in the opener March 18 and hasn’t allowed a run in three straight innings.
NOTES FROM SIU GAME
• A-State fell to 23-48 all-time against the Salukis with a 4-2 loss March 15. The loss for the Red Wolves also snapped a six-game winning streak against Southern Illinois.
• Jeremy Brown hit his third home run of the season and sixth career round-tripper with a solo shot in the bottom of the first. The Festus, Mo., native also had a single and walked twice in the game.
• Collin Cahill made his fourth start of the season, but couldn’t get through the fourth inning. The A-State bullpen of Tanner Kirby, Tyler Mitzel, Zachary Patterson, and Tyler Zuber finished the game and allowed just one run on four hits with six strikeouts against one walk. Kirby and Zuber lead the Red Wolves with seven appearances each.
• Arkansas State has hit nine triples so far this season, which is the most in the Sun Belt
Conference and 17th in the nation.
• Garrett Rucker has already hit four triples, including one March 19 against ULM, to lead the league and rank fifth in the country. The four triples already ranks as a tie for the eighth most in a single season in school history. Five different players have tripled for A-State so far this season.
• Last season the Red Wolves set the school record for three-baggers with 22, breaking the record of 20 that had stood since the 1949 season.
THE RUNNIN’ RED WOLVES
• A-State has the 16th most steals nationally with 37 on the year and lead the league in the category. The Red Wolves stole five bases against Austin Peay Wednesday, all in the same inning, which is the most by the Red Wolves this season in one inning. A-State has only stole five bases in a game nine times since 2002 and stole seven bases against NYIT in the second game of a Feb. 18 doubleheader for the most steals in a game since 2002.
• A-State only had 48 steals a season ago and the school record is 91, which was done twice in 1982 and 1983. The Red Wolves stole 63 bases in the 2014 season, which is the most in the Tommy Raffo era.
• Grant Hawkins leads the way with an 12-for 13 mark stealing with the 12 steals ranking as 10th most in the country. Garrett Rucker has seven steals on the year to rank ninth in the conference, while Drew Tipton has five steals. 11 different players have stolen a base for the Red Wolves this season after Tobias Johnson stole his first career bag in the ULM series, while Alex Howard and Justin Felix stole the first bases of their career against Austin Peay.
PUNCHING THEM OUT
• The Red Wolves are tied for third in the SBC with Coastal Carolina as both teams have 193 strikeouts with A-State’s coming in 175.1 innings of work this season, compared to 191.0 for the Chanticleers. That comes out to a 9.9 strikeouts per nine innings ratio that is third in the league and 17th in the country. However, the Red Wolves are first in the league as a team with 67 strikeouts looking.
• Bryan Ayers is tied for second in the conference with 38 punch outs, while Tyler Zuber is tied for ninth with 29 despite only throwing 18.1 innings so far this season. Additionally, Ayers is first in the league in strikeouts looking with 19 issued.
• Ayers ranks 41st in the nation in strikeouts. Ayers also has a 12.51 strikeouts-per-nine innings ratio and ranks first in the league and 33rd in the country.
HIT ME WITH YOUR BEST SHOT
• A-State set the school record for hit-by-pitches a season ago with 98 and has already been hit 36 times this season, which is the most in the conference and 8th in the nation. A-State got hit six times against ULM, but all six times were in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader and represent the most times the team has been hit in a game this year. The Red Wolves were also hit two times in the game against Austin Peay.
• Jake Bakamus has already been hit 10 times and ranks third in the nation along with first in the conference in the category. He was hit 21 times last season, which was the third most in a single season in school history and fourth most in the country in 2016.
• Joe Schrimpf is second on the team and second in the conference with seven HBP’s with Alex Howard third on the squad with four. 12 different players have been hit with a pitch for the Red Wolves this season.
241 AND COUNTING FOR RAFFO
• A-State head coach Tommy Raffo is now 241-238-1 in his ninth season. The 239 wins are the third most in school history behind Bill Bethea and J.A. “Ike” Tomlinson.
• Coach Raffo’s 200th win came back in the 2015 SBC Tournament and tied him with Richard Johnson for third most wins, while his 201st victory, that also came in the 2015 Sun Belt Conference Tournament moved him ahead of Johnson.
• The A-State baseball team welcomes 16 newcomers to the 2017 team as they join 15 returning letter winners and three redshirts.
• Seven of the newcomers are from junior colleges, while nine of the kids are high schoolers.
• Freshman left-handed pitcher and Sunday’s scheduled starter Collin Cahill was listed as the fifth-best freshman in the league by D1Baseball.com (full article:
https://d1baseball.com/analysis/2017-conference-previews-sun-belt/ with a paid subscription)
• The preview from D1Baseball.com also mentions transfer catcher Justin Felix and says, “He is their most projectable pro prospect, a 6.85 runner, with home run power who handles pitchers well.”
• 11 of the 16 newcomers have made an appearance this season.
• Arkansas State was picked to finish fifth in the Sun Belt Conference’s West Division with 27 points. Louisiana-Lafayette was picked atop the West Division, while SBC newcomer and defending national champion Coastal Carolina were chosen to win the East Division crown.
• 2017 marks the 40th season of Sun Belt baseball and the first year since 1994 the league will play a divisional (East/West) format.
• A-State was also chosen fifth in the West Division by D1Baseball.com, but said “the Red Wolves could be one of the surprise teams in the league.” Friday’s starter Bryan Ayers was also listed as the 10th-best MLB draft prospect for 2017, while sophomore Peyton Culbertson, Saturday’s game two starter was listed as the sixth-best 2018 MLB draft prospect.
• The 2017 Sun Belt Conference Baseball Tournament will be seeded with the division winners as the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds, with the No. 1 seed being awarded to the divisional winner with the best conference winning percentage. Seeds No. 3- No. 10 will be selected based off winning percentage in conference play, regardless of division.
• Also new for 2017, the number of teams playing in the conference championship will increase from eight to ten. This would cause two additional games to be played. The first round games would include the No. 8 seed vs. No. 9 seed and the No. 7 seed vs. the No. 10 seed, with both contests conducted as single-elimination games on Tuesday of tournament week.
BREAKING DOWN THE RED WOLVES
• The 2017 version of the Red Wolves features 19 players from Arkansas with four apiece coming from Missouri and Tennessee. There are two players each from Arizona and Washington, with one player from each of Colorado, New Mexico, and South Dakota.
• A-State has five seniors, 15 juniors, three sophomores, and 11 freshmen.
• There are three redshirts from a season ago with RS-Senior Derek Birginske returning from an injury he suffered last season. The Russellville, Ark., native has pitched and played in the outfield at A-State, but is expected to only play outfield this season. The other two redshirts were pitcher Brandon Stuckenschneider and Drew Tipton, who were both true freshmen a season ago.
• A-State added two sets of brothers in freshmen Chase and Colten Nix (Benton, Ark.) and
Conrad and Cullen Ray (Germantown, Tenn.). The Rays are the son of former A-State football player Mike Ray, while Chase and Colten give A-State three players from Benton along with Coulton Lee.
• Speaking of three’s, A-State added three true freshmen from Star City, Ark., in Garry Hill, Austin Powell, and Blake Wynn. The trio led the Bulldogs to a 2015 4A State Championship. The Red Wolves also picked up three junior college transfers from New Mexico Military Institute in Justin Felix, Alex Howard, and Winston Welch. That trio was coached by former A-State assistant coach Chris Cook.