|No. 10 Georgia State vs. No. 7 Arkansas State at the SBC Tournament
May 23-28, 2017 | 2:00 p.m. (CT); Other Times TBA
Statesboro, Ga. | J.I. Clement Stadium
Radio: 95.3 FM The Ticket | TV: ESPN3 | Video: ESPN3
| Video/Audio | Live Stats | Tickets | Game Notes: A-State | Georgia State | SBC Championship Central
A-STATE/GEORGIA STATE SERIES HISTORY
• A-State evened the series with Georgia State at 6-6 after sweeping the Panthers in a three- game series in Jonesboro April 7-9. A-State won 14-1 in game one with Bo Ritter making a spot start and striking out a career-high nine to pick up the win. Grant Hawkins and Garrett Rucker had three RBI each in the game, while Tobias Johnson scored four runs. The Red Wolves came from behind to win game two 4-2 by scoring three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. Peyton Culbertson tossed a career-high eight innings and struck out a career-high 11 in the game. The 11 strikeouts were the most by an A-State pitcher since Tyler Zuber struck out 13 at Georgia Southern March 20, 2015. Zuber earned his fourth save of the season, while Justin Felix hit his first and only career triple in the game. Additionally, Rucker made a diving catch in the game that was the No. 7 play on Sportscenter's Top 10. The team completed the sweep in the series finale with a 10-5 win. A-State jumped out to a 9-2 lead after three innings and Tyler Mitzel picked up his first career win in the game. Jake Bakamus and Garrett Rucker had two RBI apiece to lead the squad.
• The first three meetings were in the 2014 season when the Panthers joined the Sun Belt
Conference. A-State lost the first two meetings by scores of 5-1 and 7-6 in 10 innings before winning the finale 10-6 in Atlanta, Ga.
• The two schools played in Jonesboro in 2015 during the regular season, but were only able to play a Sunday doubleheader due to rainfall in the Northeast Arkansas area. The Panthers were able to sweep the Red Wolves 5-4 in 12 innings and 6-3. However, the two teams met again in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament with A-State claiming a 6-2 decision over GSU in Troy, Ala.
• A-State traveled to Atlanta in 2016 and won game one by a score of 11-1. The Red Wolves had 19 hits in the contest to tie their season high, which was done two other times. Tanner Ring collected five of those hits, which was one off the A-State record for hits in a game. Ring also scored four runs, drove in two, and had a stolen base. Joe Schrimpf had four hits in the game, while Austin Baker had three hits and three RBI. Tyler Zuber got the win after pitching six innings and allowing just one run. Game two was a close one throughout with the Panthers winning on a walk-off single 5-4 in 10 innings. Garrett Rucker led the Red Wolves with two hits, including his first career home run, and three RBI. Game three was mostly Georgia State as the Panthers used a seven-run third inning to take control of the game early and went on to win 14-6. Austin Baker and Tim Seldomridge both had two hits apiece to lead the team.
• All 12 meetings have come with Tommy Raffo as head coach with 11 of the meetings coming in the regular season. Tuesday's game will mark the second time A-State and Georgia State have met in the conference tournament with the Red Wolves holding a 1-0 advantage.
NOTES FROM LITTLE ROCK SERIES
• The Red Wolves won both games against Little Rock in completely different fashions before the finale was cancelled due to rain and poor field conditions. A-State improved to 76-45 against Little Rock all-time with a 9-8 win in 18 innings before a 19-2 victory in game two.
• A-State's 18-inning win over the Trojans was the second longest game in school history behind a 22-inning contest in 1960 against Murray State that ended in a 9-9 tie. The 18-inning game is also tied for the longest game in Division I this season with two other games (4-3 UC Riverside win over Fresno State Feb. 24 and 5-4 Maine victory over St. Bonaventure March 5).
• Grant Hawkins and Alex Howard set the school record for at-bats in a game with nine apiece, while Justin Felix and Jake Bakamus tied the school record for walks with four apiece tying with 18 other players, while Garrett Rucker struck out five times to tie the school record with two other players.
• A-State led 4-1 entering the seventh inning before five runs for the Trojans put them ahead 6-4. However, A-State struck back with two runs in the bottom of the eighth on a two-run single by Alex Howard to tie it 6-6. Little Rock scored two in the top of the 16th on two RBI doubles before A-State rallied to tie it on two, two-out singles by Grant Hawkins and Garrett Rucker. The game continued before A-State loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the 18th and Justin Felix ended the epic game with a single through the left side of a drawn-in infield to score Drew Tipton and win the game.
• Tyler Mitzel pitched the first five innings before A-State went to the bullpen. Tyler Zuber tossed a season-high 5.1 innings out of the bullpen while Bradey Welsh pitched five innings out of the bullpen to earn the win. It was his first appearance out of the bullpen since March 10. He allowed two runs on four hits with no walks and six strikeouts. Grant Hawkins had a team-high four hits, while Alex Howard drove in three runs.
• The 19 runs in the 19-2 win on May 19 were the most of the season along with a season-high 18 hits. The 19 runs were the most scored by an A-State team since a 27-7 win over Murray State March 11, 2014. Grant Hawkins and Garrett Rucker led the team with four hits, while Justin Felix, Alex Howard, and Jeremy Brown all had three RBI. Hawkins scored four runs to lead the team. A-State was hit by eight pitches to tie the school record set in the March 11, 2014 game against Murray State referenced earlier.
• Peyton Culbertson registered his team-best fourth quality start of the year and the team's 10th after shutting out the Trojans over six innings on three hits with no walks and five strikeouts. It was Culbertson's first start without a walk this season. The game featured a two hour and 35 minute rain delay, and the Red Wolves scored in every inning except the bottom of the eighth.
A-STATE AT THE SBC TOURNAMENT
• Arkansas State is 26-40 all-time at the Sun Belt Conference Tournament and is the only team in the league to win at least two games in the event in each of the last seven seasons. A-State is 2-2 in the last five league tournaments.
• However, A-State hasn't won their first game in the tournament since 2012 when the
tournament was pool play format. The Red Wolves have only won their first game of the league tournament seven times since joining the Sun Belt in 1992 and only done it three times since 2002. Coach Raffo has done it twice.
• Head coach Tommy Raffo is 14-13 all-time in Sun Belt Conference Tournament games and he is 1-0 in against Georgia State in the event.
• The first two games of the tournament on Tuesday are single-elimination for the first time before the rest of the tournament becomes double-elimination for the remaining eight teams.
NOTES FROM OLE MISS MIDWEEK GAME
• A-State shutout Ole Miss 5-0 May 16 at Tomlinson Stadium to improve to 25-84 all-time against the Rebels and mark the second straight season the Red Wolves have defeated Ole Miss in Jonesboro. Tommy Raffo is now 3-16 all-time against Ole Miss.
• A record crowd of 1,188 watched the Red Wolves defeat Ole Miss May 16. It was the largest crowd in school history, eclipsing the previous record of 1,143 on May 13, 2014 against Ole Miss. It is the fifth time in A-State history that 1,000 or more fans have attended a game.
• Bryan Ayers tossed seven shutout innings for his second quality start of the year. He allowed four hits and walked one while striking out four and improved to 3-5 on the year. The seven inning outing is his longest of the season and tied his career high set against Saint Louis on Feb. 27, 2016 in the second game of a doubleheader. Tyler Zuber completed the shutout with two scoreless innings and struck out three. Zuber hasn't allowed a run in 16 of his 22 appearances this season.
• Alex Howard led the offensive effort with three hits, including his team-best 13th double. He also knocked in two runs. Jeremy Brown, Jake Bakamus, and Drew Tipton also had a RBI.
• The shutout for the Red Wolves was their third of the season and second in three games. The three shutouts for the team is the most since the 2014 season when the team had four. The Red Wolves had two shutouts a season ago.
SCHRIMPF SETS RBI RECORD
• Senior infielder Joe Schrimpf became the school's all-time leader in RBI with a run-scoring single in the bottom of the fifth inning in the May 6 game against UTA. It was his 140th of his career to pass Todd Baumgartner's 139 set from 2008-2011. He added two RBI in the 19-2 win over Little Rock May 19 to extend his school record to 142.
• Additionally, he doubled in the bottom of the seventh inning in the May 6 game vs UTA for his 200th career hit, which made him the eighth player to get to 200 hits. He added four more hits and now has 204 hits, which is tied for sixth most in school history with Zach George and Brandon Eller.
• Schrimpf had 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 three more this year and now has 39 in his career.
• The St. Louis, Mo., native is also dotted in several other places in the record books. He's got the third most career HBP's in school history with 43, while tied for second in runs scored with Chris Floyd with 150. He's got the fourth most walks in school history with 113. Additionally, his seven career triples are tied for seventh most, while he has the sixth most at-bats in school
history with 735. He also has the third-most total bases in school history with 303.
• Schrimpf has played in 210 career games with 207 starts, including 178 consecutive before he didn't start at Georgia Southern May 12. Schrimpf leads the team with a .337 average, .475 on-base percentage, a .518 slugging percentage, He's second on the team with 33 walks and has only struck out 23 times.
HOWARD WINS SBC PLAYER OF THE WEEK
• Junior infielder Alex Howard was named the Sun Belt Conference's Player of the Week on May 22 after hitting .467 in A-State's 3-0 week with wins over Ole Miss and Little Rock. He had eight RBI and hit his third home run of the season during the week.
• Additionally, he reached base three times in each game and didn't commit an error with nine assists. He had two RBI in the 5-0 win over Ole Miss before registering three RBI in each win versus Little Rock.
• This is A-State's third Player of the Week award after Jeremy Brown earned the honor on March 21 and Garrett Rucker won the award April 10. 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 three Player of the Weeks in the same season (Brett Kinning twice and Isaac Dillon).
• Tyler Zuber is the team's leader in strikeouts with 73 in just 47.1 innings of work, which comes out to a 13.88 strikeout per nine innings ratio, which would rank second in the nation behind Louisiana-Lafayette's Wyatt Marks if he had pitched enough innings to qualify. His 73 strikeouts are 10th most in the league.
• Zuber has six saves this season, which is tied for 8th most in the league. He has 12 career saves to rank as the second most in school history behind John Koch's 20. The six saves is also tied for the fourth-most in a single season in A-State history.
• Additionally, the White Hall, Ark., native has made 87 appearances to rank as the third most in school history in a career. He also has 251 strikeouts in his career after striking out eight against Little Rock May 18 in 5.1 innings of work (his longest outing of the season). The 251 strikeouts tie Rusty Bourg (1967-70) for second most in school history and trails Jacob Lee's school record of 280 from 2009-2012.
HIT ME WITH YOUR BEST SHOT
• A-State set the school record for hit-by-pitches a season ago with 98 and has been hit 92 times this season, which is the most in the conference and fifth in the nation. A-State was hit by 10 pitches in the series against Little Rock, including being hit eight times in the May 19 game against the Trojans to tie the school record set back on March 11, 2014 at Murray State.
• Jake Bakamus has been hit 23 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. The 23 HBP's tie Derek Alferman for the most in a single season in school history, while his 44 career hit-by-pitches ranks as second most in school history behind the school record of 45 by Alferman from 1993-94. Additionally, 13 of Bakamus's HBP's have come in league play.
• Joe Schrimpf is second on the team and fourth in the conference with 14 HBP's to rank 47th in the nation. Jeremy Brown is third on the team and sixth in the league with 12 on the year, while Drew Tipton and Alex Howard are next with nine hit-by-pitches, which ranks as 11th in the Sun Belt Conference. 13 different players have been hit with a pitch for the Red Wolves this season after J.D. Rainwater was hit for the first time this season in the UTA series.
256 AND COUNTING FOR RAFFO
• A-State head coach Tommy Raffo is now 256-255-1 in his ninth season. The 253 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.