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A-State fell to 8-10 on the year with a pair of midweek losses at Missouri March 20 and 21.
The Red Wolves had two triples in Tuesday’s 11-1 loss with Kyle MacDonald hitting the first of his career and Logan Andersen hitting his second. It was the first time this year the team had two triples in a game and the first since March 4 last year versus Cincinnati.
Nate Alberius only tossed one inning in his start Tuesday as he will now move to the A-State weekend rotation. Coulton Lee made his first relief appearance of the season in the game.
Zachary Patterson made his first start of the season in the second game of the Mizzou series. He went three innings and gave up five runs (three earned) with four walks and one strikeout.
Kyle MacDonald scored three runs to tie a career high in the second game against Mizzou. He hit .667 (6-for-9) in the two-game set.
A-State vs. ULM In-Depth Series History
A-State is 37-29 all-time against ULM. The series began in 1973 with the Warhawks taking both games from Arkansas State to open the season by scores of 7-2 and 10-0. The two squads played again in 1974 with A-State winning both contests 2-0 and 8-2.
After those four initial meetings in the series, the teams didn’t play again until the 1983 season when ULM took five out of six games. A-State posted a 3-2 record against ULM in 1987 for its first winning record against the team since 1974 and also swept two games each season in 1994 and 1997.
Since then the two teams have been in the Sun Belt Conference (ULM joined in 2007), A-State has won eight of the 11 season series and holds a 22-12 advantage with only one matchup coming during the SBC Tournament. That matchup was the 2012 final in which ULM won by a score of 4-2.
A-State head coach Tommy Raffo is 19-9 against the Warhawks in his career. The team went 2-1 in his first season as head coach in 2009 in Monroe. A-State won the first two games 14-4 and then 6-4 in 11 innings before falling in the finale 10-8 in 10 innings. A-State has swept ULM three times (2010, 2014, 2016) during Raffo’s tenure and has only lost the season series twice in nine chances (2012 and 2015).
Last season the Red Wolves won two of three games against the Warhawks in Jonesboro after ULM made the trip to Jonesboro for the second straight season. The two teams were forced to play a doubleheader on Saturday with A-State dropping the first game 5-3 before a 12-6 win in the second contest. Bryan Ayers took the loss in the first game with Grant Hawkins and Joe Schrimpf both swatting home runs in the game. Hawkins followed with another homer in the second game and drove in three runs while Jeremy Brown drove in four. Tyler Zuber picked up the win on the mound out of the bullpen. A-State won the series finale 8-3 after a two-run single by Garrett Rucker broke a 3-3 tie in the seventh. Tanner Kirby picked up the win with three shutout innings out of the bullpen.
ULM has a new head coach in Michael Federico and are currently 11-9 and 1-2 in league play after losing two of three against South Alabama. ULM swept a three-game series at Southern Illinois earlier in the season to account for the only common opponent between the two teams. A-State defeated SIU 9-8 in 11 innings March 13 and makes the return trip to Carbondale March 27.
Notes from Mizzou Midweek Series
A-State is now 7-22 all-time against Missouri after losing 11-1 and 14-9 to the Tigers March 20-21.
The Red Wolves had two triples in Tuesday’s 11-1 loss with Kyle MacDonald hitting the first of his career and Logan Andersen hitting his second. It was the first time this year the team had two triples in a game and the first since March 4 last year versus Cincinnati when A-State had three with Drew Tipton, Garrett Rucker, and Jeremy Brown all hitting one.
Kyle MacDonald hit .667 in the two-game set and scored three runs in the second game to tie a career high.
Caleb Squire set career highs with three hits and three RBI in the 14-9 loss. He hit a double and had a hit-by-pitch.
Winston Welch had a hit in both games and started both games. It was only his second and third starts of the season and he made his first start in left field in game two. He has a three-game hit streak currently.
Notes from Coastal Carolina Series
A-State is now 0-6 all-time against Coastal Carolina after being swept by the Chanticleers March 16-18 in Jonesboro. The Red Wolves faced Coastal for the first time last season after the team moved to the Sun Belt Conference and was swept in Conway, S.C.
The Red Wolves dropped the March 16 game 3-1 after allowing two unearned runs that proved to be the difference. All four runs for both teams scored in the third inning. The three runs for CCU came on a sacrifice fly that was dropped for an error and then a passed ball and wild pitch. A-State scored in the bottom half on a bases-loaded walk.
Bo Ritter tossed a season-high four innings in the Friday game and tied his season-high with five strikeouts as he didn’t allow a run.
The March 17 game was a wild one with the Chants winning 26-14 over the Red Wolves. The game featured 30 walks between both teams to tie for the second most in a game in NCAA Division I history. The last time it had been done was Feb. 22, 1995 in a game between Rice and Texas Southern. The 18 walks by A-State pitching broke the school record of 16, set three different times, and Coastal Carolina’s 12 walks tied its school record.
The 40 combined runs were the second most in a game involving the Red Wolves with the most being 41 in a 28-13 win over Memphis to end the 1992 season.
Jeremy Brown tied the school record for doubles with nine other players as he hit three in his final three at-bats. Kyle MacDonald knocked in a career-high four runs in the game and hit .545 on the weekend with a .667 on-base percentage and five RBI.
A-State used seven different pitchers in the game and all but one walked a batter. The only one not to walk one was Blake Wynn, who was a pitcher last season as he redshirted, but moved full-time to a position player this season. He pitched a 1-2-3 top of the ninth.
Winston Welch picked up his first hit of the season in a pinch-hit AB.
A-State dropped the finale 8-3. Grant Hawkins hit his second triple of the season and fifth of his career in the contest and drove in two runs.
Jeremy Brown started two more games at third base during the series and has three starts there after playing second base all of last season. He has not made an error at the position despite the lack of experience.
With Arkansas State’s 9-8 walk-off win over Southern Illinois, the team now has 28 walk-off victories since Tommy Raffo became head coach in 2009. This time it was a Drew Tipton single providing the dramatics. This is A-State’s second of the season after Jacob Jablonski was hit by a pitch to send the Red Wolves to a 7-6 walk-off win against SEMO Feb. 20. That was the first walk-off HBP during that time frame.
15 of those walk-offs have now been singles after Tipton’s hit March 13 versus the Salukis. Before that the last was when Justin Felix knocked in the winning run of A-State’s 9-8 win over Little Rock in 18 innings May 19, 2017. A-State has won on three walk-off wild pitches under Raffo, while errors, sacrifice flies, fielder’s choices, and home runs have happened twice. Only once has the walk-off win occurred on a walk and a hit-by-pitch.
The two home runs were a three-run homer by Zach George against ULM April 6, 2012 for a 7-6 win and a solo shot by Alex Potts to beat FAU March 23, 2013 by a score of 3-2 in 10 innings.
Head coach Tommy Raffo’s first victory was a walk-off win against Texas State in Arlington, Texas against Texas State when Josh DeMoney singled home Cody Pace for a 4-3 win in 10 innings.
Since 2014, the walk-off wins have been less traditional with only six of the 12 being singles. During that time frame, two have been via wild pitch and fielder’s choice, while the other two were on a sacrifice fly and hit-by-pitch.
Five of the walk-off wins have been by scores of 4-3, while four have been by scores of 3-2 and 7-6, each. A-State has had one walk-off victory by a 1-0 score, which was last season versus SIU when A-State won a walk-off wild pitch. The highest scoring walk-off win was a 13-12 win May 26, 2016 against Troy. Tanner Ring capped A-State’s comeback in that SBC Tournament game after being behind 12-4.
Three of them have now been by scores of 9-8, but all three have been extra-inning affairs. The first was a walk-off walk by Murray Watts on April 24, 2010 before last season’s 9-8, 18-inning win with Justin Felix’s walk-off single, followed by Drew Tipton’s single to give A-State a 9-8 win in 11 innings over Southern Illinois March 13.
National and Conference Rankings
A-State ranks fourth in the conference in walks drawn by an offense, but is 48th in the nation in the category with 102 so far this season. The Red Wolves are only fifth in the league in hit-by-pitches with 26, but rank 64th in the nation in the category.
Grant Hawkins is 16th in the nation in walks with 20, but ranks fifth in the league in the category. He has an on-base percentage of .473 to rank third in the conference and 149th in the nation.
266 and Counting for Raffo; New Faces on Staff
A-State head coach Tommy Raffo has a career record of 266-266-1 as he is currently in his 10th season at Arkansas State. The 266 wins are the third most at the school behind J.A. “Ike” Tomlinson and Bill Bethea.
Raffo has a completely new staff to assist him this season. Rick Guarno joined the staff as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator with his most recent stint at UT Martin. Guarno played seven seasons of professional baseball before getting into coaching.
Rowdy Hardy is the team’s new pitching coach and comes to A-State from New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell, N.M. He played six seasons of professional baseball before getting into coaching.
Volunteer assistant Craig Massoni rounds out the staff and he just concluded his playing days after five seasons of professional baseball.