|Arkansas State at Appalachian State
April 28-30, 2017 | 5:00 p.m.; 1:00 p.m.; 12 p.m.
Boone, N.C. | Beaver Field at Jim and Bettie Smith Stadium
Radio: 95.3 FM The Ticket | TV: ESPN3 (Sun.) | Video: App State TV
| Video/Audio | Live Stats | Tickets | Game Notes: A-State | Appalachian State
A-STATE/APPALACHIAN STATE SERIES HISTORY
• The all-time series between Appalachian State and Arkansas State is tied 3-3 with all six
meetings occurring in the last two years since the Apps joined the Sun Belt Conference.
• The two teams played for the first time in 2015 at Tomlinson Stadium in Jonesboro when the Red Wolves took two of three games from the Mountaineers. A-State won game one 6-1 behind a complete game effort by David Owen before blowing a 2-0 lead in the eighth inning of game two and allowing App State to even the series with a 6-3 win. However, A-State won the series finale in dramatic fashion when Tim Seldomridge scored on a walk-off wild pitch to give the Red Wolves a 7-6 win.
• Last season Arkansas State won game one of a doubleheader 9-7 after Tyler Zuber tossed the last 7.1 innings out of the bullpen and threw 133 pitches. He allowed one run on nine hits with three walks and seven strikeouts. Joe Schrimpf and Tanner Ring both homered in the game and had two RBI. However, App State bounced back to win game two 9-2 and out hit the Red Wolves 13-7 in the game with Bryan Ayers taking the loss on the mound. A-State lost a heartbreaker in the series finale by a score of 6-4 when Grayson Atwood hit a walk-off three-run homer off closer Tanner Ring after A-State entered the bottom of the ninth with a 4-3 edge. Garrett Rucker, Ring, Austin Baker, and Jake Bakamus all had two hits for the Red Wolves.
• All six meetings have come under head coach Tommy Raffo and the Red Wolves are making their second consecutive trip to Boone, N.C., after the league schedules had to be altered due to Coastal Carolina joining the league. ULM came to Jonesboro earlier for the second straight year.
• Appalachian State enters the weekend with a 17-24 overall mark and 6-12 record in Sun Belt Conference play. The Mountaineers are in the East Division and currently have a three-game win streak. The Apps took two of three from Georgia State in their most recent league series and won their midweek game against East Tennessee State Tuesday night 8-7.
NOTES FROM MEMPHIS GAME
• A-State dropped to 58-91-1 all-time against Memphis with the 2-1 loss to the Tigers on April 25 at Tomlinson Stadium.
• Memphis scored a run in the top of the second inning to take a 1-0 lead, but Winston Welch hit his first career double and knocked in his first career run in the bottom of the seventh inning to tie the game 1-1. Welch now has a three-game hit streak after starting the season 0-for-25.
• However, Memphis scored a run on a two-out single in the top of the ninth to send A-State to a 2-1 loss and give Tanner Kirby his first loss of the season and just the second of his career.
• Alex Howard had two hits in the game, along with Joe Schrimpf, to lead the team. In the process Howard extended his hit streak to eight games, which is tied for the second longest on the team this season.
NOTES FROM SOUTH ALABAMA SERIES
• A-State fell to 27-68 all-time against the Jaguars after winning one of three against South
Alabama April 22-23.
• Justin Felix had a solid series at the plate with a .400 batting average, .500 on-base percentage, and 1.000 slugging percentage. He hit two home runs to retake the team lead with seven on the year. He also drove in five runs to give him a team-best 37 RBI on the year. His first home run came in A-State's 12-10 victory in the first game of the April 22 doubleheader before he hit another in the nightcap.
• The Red Wolves built a 9-0 lead in the first game of Saturday's doubleheader behind single runs in the second and fourth innings sandwiched around a seven-run third inning, which was tied for the most in a single inning this season for the team (vs Georgia State, 8th inning, April 7th). Winston Welch led off the inning with his second career hit and Grant Hawkins doubled the first two runs home after an error by the Jaguars. Justin Felix hit his three-run bomb after that before Alex Howard hit his second homer of the season, a two-run shot, to account for the seven runs. Howard ended up with a career-high four RBI in the game.
• Bradey Welsh went the first five innings with the first four being scoreless before he allowed a five-spot in the fifth to earn his second win of his career in the 12-10 win. Tanner Kirby gave up four runs in three innings of relief, while Tyler Zuber worked around some trouble in the ninth to earn his team-best fifth save of the year.
• The 12-10 win increased A-State's home win streak to seven games before the Jaguars snapped it in the second game of the doubleheader April 22. The seven-game win streak was the longest since the 2014 season when A-State won the last two games of the Texas State series, a midweek game versus Central Arkansas, a sweep of ULM, and a midweek game against Murray State.
• However, the Red Wolves lost the next two games 12-2 and 15-5 to fall to 20-19 on the season and 8-10 in the league. Bryan Ayers pitched for the first time in since March 31 in the second game on April 22 and allowed four runs (all earned) in 2.1 innings of work and struck out three.
Tyler Mitzel took the loss after giving up seven runs (three earned) in 4.2 innings of work.
• The Red Wolves and Jaguars played a competitive game on Sunday with South Alabama leading 9-5 after eight innings, but a six-run ninth propelled the Jags to a 15-5 win. Joe Schrimpf hit his sixth home run in the game and 17th in his career, which is the most by a current player on the team. Peyton Culbertson took the loss after allowing seven runs (five earned) in four innings with four walks and eight strikeouts.
• Alex Howard had a hit in all three games and extended his hit streak to seven games, which is the third longest by a Red Wolves player this season.
NOTES FROM LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE SERIES
• The Red Wolves fell to 39-82 all-time against the Ragin' Cajuns with an 8-0 loss in game one before a 13-2 setback in game two. The teams were tied 2-2 heading into the bottom of the ninth in Saturday's series finale, but Louisiana won 3-2 on a walk-off suicide squeeze bunt.
• Bradey Welsh tossed a career-high 7.2 innings in game one, but gave up seven runs, four coming in the eighth inning, to take the loss. Welsh allowed 10 hits, walked three, and struck out three in his first career weekend start. Grant Hawkins had two hits, including the team's only extra-base hit, his sixth double of the season. Jake Bakamus was hit twice in the game to give him 16 hit-by-pitches on the year.
• Peyton Culbertson only lasted 4.1 innings in the 13-2 game two loss and gave up nine runs. Collin Cahill, Derek Birginske, and Chase Nix also saw action on the mound. Birginske's two-thirds of an inning represented his second appearance on the mound of the season after it was expected he wouldn't pitch this season. Nix tossed a perfect inning in his appearance, which was his third appearance without allowing a hit, but first in which he didn't allow a runner to reach base. Garrett Rucker, Justin Felix, and Alex Howard each had two hits in the game to lead the team. It was Rucker's team-best 14th game with two or more hits and 11th with exactly two hits, also tops on the team.
• A-State lost a tough game three by a score of 3-2 with Tyler Zuber earning his first lost of the season (3-1) after giving up one run in 1.2 innings of work. Tyler Mitzel started and lasted 4.1 innings before giving way to Tanner Kirby. Grant Hawkins and Joe Schrimpf had the team's only RBI, while Hawkins, Alex Howard, and Winston Welch had the team's only hits. Howard ran his hit streak to four games, while Winston Welch picked up the first hit of his career after starting 0-for-25.
SCHRIMPF AND SCHOOL RECORDS
• Senior infielder Joe Schrimpf has already set one school record this season by overtaking the school's sacrifice bunt record from Dustin Jones on April 7 against Georgia State. It was his fourth of the year, but the 36th of his career to pass the 35 Jones had from 2011-14. He has since added another this year and now has 38 in his career.
• The St. Louis, Mo., native is also dotted in several other places in the record books. He's got the second most career HBP's in school history with 40, while ranking third in runs scored with 147. He's got the fifth most walks in school history with 108 and is tied for fourth in RBI with 134. He's just five away from tying Todd Baumgartner's school record of 139. Additionally, his seven career triples are tied for seventh most, while he has the seventh most at-bats in school history with 700.
• Schrimpf has played in 202 career games with 199 starts, including 172 consecutive. He's played every position in the infield, including catcher, during his career at A-State. Schrimpf leads the team with a .336 average, .477 on-base percentage, a .542 slugging percentage, and 38 runs scored. He's second on the team with 28 walks and has only struck out 15 times. He has the third-most RBI with 32 and second most home runs with six.
RUCKER WINS SBC PLAYER OF THE WEEK
• Senior outfielder Garrett Rucker won his first career Player of the Week award April 10 after hitting .429 with an on-base percentage of .478 and 11 RBI. Three of his eight hits went for doubles as he slugged .579. He also stole two bases and scored six runs.
• Additionally, he didn't make an error in A-State's 4-1 week and made a fantastic diving catch in the April 8 game against Georgia State with his back to home plate. The play made No. 7 on Sportscenter's Top 10 list.
• He was also named the Sun Belt Player of the Week by College Sports Madness.
• This is A-State's second Player of the Week award after Jeremy Brown earned the honor on March 21. It's the first time since 2015 that A-State has had multiple Player or Pitcher of the Week honors in the same season when Joe Schrimpf won Player of the Week once and Tyler Zuber and Jon Glidewell were each Pitcher of the Week. It's the first time since 2006 that A-State has had two Player of the Weeks in the same season (Brett Kinning and Josh Yates).
PUNCHING THEM OUT
• The Red Wolves are fifth in the SBC with 337 strikeouts which comes out to an 8.7 strikeouts per nine innings ratio that is fourth in the league and 48th in the country. However, the Red Wolves are first in the league as a team with 111 strikeouts looking with Georgia Southern as the next closest team at 106.
• Peyton Culbertson is the team leader in strikeouts with 48 on the year, while Tyler Zuber and Bryan Ayers are tied for second with 47 apiece. Ayers is tied for the third most strikeouts looking in the league with 23, while Culbertson ranks in a tie for sixth with 18.
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 67 times this season, which is the most in the conference and eighth in the nation. A-State was hit by six pitches in the series against South Alabama April 22-23 before being hit by two against Memphis April 25.
• Jake Bakamus has already been hit 17 times and ranks sixth 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. The 16 HBP's are tied for fourth most in a single season in school history with Zach George (2015).
• Joe Schrimpf is second on the team and second in the conference with 11 HBP's to rank 44th in the nation. Jeremy Brown is third on the team and fourth in the league with 10 on the year, while Drew Tipton is next with eight hit-by-pitches, which ranks as seventh in the Sun Belt Conference. 12 different players have been hit with a pitch for the Red Wolves this season.
250 AND COUNTING FOR RAFFO
• A-State head coach Tommy Raffo is now 250-249-1 in his ninth season. The 249 wins are the third most in school history behind Bill Bethea (311) and J.A. “Ike” Tomlinson (363).
• 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.
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.