|No. 23 UT Arlington at Arkansas State
May 5-7, 2017 | 6:30 p.m.; 6:30 p.m.; 1:00 p.m.
Jonesboro, Ark. | Tomlinson Stadium/Kell Field
Radio: 95.3 FM The Ticket | TV: None | Video: Red Wolves Digital Network
| Video/Audio | Live Stats | Tickets | Game Notes: A-State | UT Arlington
A-STATE/UT ARLINGTON SERIES HISTORY
• A-State trails UT Arlington 41-37 in the all-time series that began with a 12-2 victory by Arkansas State in the 1969 season. A-State also won the second game that season 2-0 and won the first six games against the Mavericks before UT Arlington won five in a row to get on the board in 1971 and 1972.
• The two schools competed as Southland Conference foes until the 1987 season and competed nine more times as non-conference members with UT Arlington holding a 6-3 advantage in those games, including a 5-4 win over A-State in Tommy Raffo's second game as head coach in 2009.
• Red Wolves head coach Tommy Raffo is 4-7 against the Mavericks with nine of the meetings coming the last three years as SBC foes after UTA joined the league and one matchup in the conference tournament in 2014 (an 8-7 Mavericks' win). A-State won two of three versus the Mavericks in 2014 in Arlington in the first series against UTA after they joined the league. UT Arlington was supposed to travel to Jonesboro in 2015, but the series had to be moved to Smith-Wills Stadium in Jackson, Miss., due to Jonesboro being covered in ice and snow. UTA proceeded to win two of three against the Red Wolves in that series, which opened conference play. Last season, A-State traveled to Arlington for a three-game series to open league play. The Mavericks won game one of a Saturday doubleheader 11-8 behind an eight-run fifth inning after A-State had jumped out to a 4-0 edge. Game two of the double dip was not as high scoring with UTA winning 2-0. Both teams had five hits, but Adam Grantham was the tough- luck loser, while Kadon Simmons earned the win with eight shutout innings. However, A-State bounced back to shutout the Mavericks in the series finale with a 4-0 win. Bryan Ayers got the win with five strikeouts over six innings pitched, while Coulton Lee and Tanner Ring pitched the final three innings. Joe Schrimpf had two RBI in the game.
• UT Arlington enters the weekend at 26-18 overall with a league-best 16-5 mark in SBC games. UTA has won five games over ranked opponents including non-conference wins over No. 4 Texas Tech (5-1) on March 14 and No. 23 Texas A&M (3-2) on April 18. The other three wins over ranked opponents occurred last weekend when the Mavericks swept No. 20 Louisiana-Lafayette in league play. UTA had won eight straight games before losing a 4-1 contest to No. 24 Texas May 2. UT Arlington is ranked No. 23 by Collegiate Baseball and received votes in this week's National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Poll.
NOTES FROM APPALACHIAN STATE SERIES
• A-State won two of three from App State April 28-30 in Boone, N.C., which was the second straight season the team made the trip to North Carolina to play the Mountaineers. A-State dropped game one 7-6 before winning games two and three by scores of 5-3 and 4-1, respectively, to improve to 5-4 all-time against Appalachian State.
• The Red Wolves dropped game one 7-6 to the Apps after putting up two runs in the top of the first, but allowing four in the bottom half. A-State got within one on a couple of instances, but couldn't tie the game or take the lead. Bryan Ayers made his first start since March 31, but only threw the first inning. Bo Ritter relieved him and allowed three runs in a career-high six innings to keep A-State in the game. Jeremy Brown had a two-hit effort, which was his first multi-hit game since April 1 at Texas State, and his 10th of the season. Justin Felix homered in the game to extend his team best total to eight.
• The Red Wolves bounced back to win Saturday's game 5-3 with Bradey Welsh picking up the win to run his record to 3-1 after throwing 5.1 innings. Tanner Kirby came in for 1.2 to bridge the gap to Tyler Zuber, who tossed the final two innings and allowed one hit, while striking out five batters to earn his team-leading sixth save of the season. The six saves is his career high for a season and ranks in a tie for the fourth most in school history. He has a total of 12 saves in his career, a numer that ranks as second most in school history. Jake Bakamus, Grant Hawkins, and Derek Birginske all had two hits in the game. It was Birginske's first multiple-hit game since March 31, while Grant Hawkins had the second of back-to-back two-hit contests. The average for Bakamus dipped under .200 at .198 on April 15, but since then he's 8-for-24 (.333) over his last seven games to raise his batting average to .221.
• A-State was able to take the series with a 4-1 win on Sunday, April 30 behind six strong innings by Peyton Culbertson. He allowed one run on five hits with one walk and five strikeouts to improve to 4-5 on the year and pick up his third quality start of the year, which is the most on the team. Tyler Mitzel entered to throw the final three innings and earned the first save of his A-State career. Mitzel shut out the Mountaineers and didn't allow a hit in those three frames while walking two and striking out three. All but one hitter in the A-State lineup had at least one hit with Joe Schrimpf leading the way with two. Alex Howard had two RBI in the game, while Derek Birginske recorded his third RBI of the season in the game.
• Five players (Jake Bakamus, Grant Hawkins, Jeremy Brown, Joe Schrimpf, and Alex Howard) had a hit in all three games of the series. Howard ran his hit streak to 11 games, which is the longest on the team this season, while Schrimpf has a seven-game streak of his own.
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.
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 two 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 41, while ranking third in runs scored with 147. He's got the fifth most walks in school history with 108 and is second in RBI with 138. He's just one 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 713. He also just broke into the top 10 in career hits with 197, which is ninth.
• Schrimpf has played in 205 career games with 202 starts, including 175 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 365 strikeouts which comes out to an 8.8 strikeouts per nine innings ratio that is fourth in the league and 44th in the country. However, the Red Wolves are first in the league as a team with 120 strikeouts looking with Troy as the next closest team with 113.
• Peyton Culbertson is the team leader in strikeouts with 53 on the year, while Tyler Zuber is second with 52 in just 35.1 innings pitched. Bryan Ayers is fifth in the league in strikeouts looking with 23, while Culbertson ranks tied for seventh with 20. Zuber and Tanner Kirby are tied for 12th with 16 apiece.
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 75 times this season, which is the most in the conference and ninth in the nation. A-State was hit by eight pitches in the series against Appalachian State April 28-30 with Jake Bakamus and Justin Felix both being hit twice.
• Jake Bakamus has already been hit 19 times and ranks fourth 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 19 HBP's are the fourth most in a single season in school history, while his 40 career hit-by-pitches ranks as third most in school history behind Joe Schrimpf's 41. The school record is 45 by Derek Alferman from 1993-94.
• Joe Schrimpf is second on the team and third in the conference with 12 HBP's to rank 44th in the nation. Jeremy Brown is third on the team and fourth in the league with 11 on the year, while Drew Tipton is next with eight hit-by-pitches, which ranks as 10th in the Sun Belt Conference. 12 different players have been hit with a pitch for the Red Wolves this season.
252 AND COUNTING FOR RAFFO
• A-State head coach Tommy Raffo is now 252-250-1 in his ninth season. The 252 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.