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A-State is now 9-12 on the year and 1-5 in league play after a 2-0 and 4-0 loss were sandwiched around a 31-7 win at ULM
The Red Wolves scored 31 runs in Saturday’s contest to set a new school record to break the old one of 28 in a 28-13 win over Memphis during the 1992 season.
A-State also tied the school record for hits (26) and home runs (8) in the game, while the 29 RBI were also a school record. The 54 total bases in the game were second most in school history and second most in the nation in a Division I game so far this season.
All three starting pitchers for the Red Wolves posted a quality start over the weekend despite only winning one of the three games. Bradey Welsh had his fourth, while Nate Alberius registered his team-high fifth in Saturday’s game, his first weekend start of the year. Peyton Culbertson then had his second of the season to give the team 12 this year after having 10 a season ago.
Tobias Johnson and Winston Welch both homered twice in the Saturday game to give both players their first multi-homer games of their careers. The homers for Welch were the first two of his A-State career.
A-State vs. Southern Illinois In-Depth Series History
A-State trails the all-time series with Southern Illinois by a count of 25-48. The Red Wolves and Salukis met for the first time in 1948 with A-State winning the first two games by scores of 3-2 and 8-6. Arkansas State won the first game in 1949 by a score of 14-2 in Jonesboro before SIU got on the board with a 6-3 win in Carbondale later in the year.
The two teams played every season from 1948 to 1957 with SIU leading the series by a count of 13-6, including a sweep of four games in the 1953 campaign. However, the Salukis dominated the series when it resumed in 1963 to the tune of a 24-2 mark through 1978 with the two teams playing most years during that time frame. A-State won the first game in 1963 1-0 and won again in 1966 5-0, but Southern Illinois won 16 straight after that.
The series picked up again in 1988 with A-State splitting four games with SIU. The teams played 17 games from 1988 through 1996 with the Red Wolves holding a slight 9-8 mark. The series resumed again in 2008 with A-State taking a loss.
Head coach Tommy Raffo took over in 2009 and currently has an 8-2 mark against Southern Illinois in his tenure. Raffo lost the first meeting 10-3 in Carbondale, but A-State won 14-5 and 5-3 the following year to open up the season. A-State won 4-3 in 2011, but the two squads didn’t play again until 2015 when the Red Wolves won 10-8 at SIU. A-State swept the two meetings in 2016, including a 1-0 walk-off win on a wild pitch at Tomlinson Stadium before the two teams split a season ago. A-State dropped a 4-2 decision in Jonesboro before winning 4-3 in 10 innings at Southern Illinois after a RBI double by Jake Bakamus. The Red Wolves won the earlier meeting this season in Tomlinson Stadium on March 13 by a score of 9-8 on a walk-off hit by Drew Tipton in the bottom of the 11th.
Southern Illinois is now 12-12 on the year after taking two-of-three from UC Irvine last weekend. The Salukis open Missouri Valley Conference play this weekend against Illinois State, which took two of three from A-State to open the season.
Notes from ULM Series
A-State is now 38-31 against ULM all-time after dropping two of three to the Warhawks March 23-25. Head coach Tommy Raffo is 20-11 all-time against ULM
The Red Wolves were shut out in two of the three games losing Friday 2-0 with Bradey Welsh taking a tough-luck loss despite his fourth quality start. The Red Wolves and Warhawks then played to a 0-0 tie with two outs in the bottom of the ninth before a walk-off grand slam sent ULM to a 4-0 win. Peyton Culbertson posted his second quality start of the year after shutting ULM out for seven innings.
In between those two shutouts was the best offensive effort in school history with a 31-7 win to break the previous school record of 28, set back in 1992 in a 28-13 win over Memphis to end the season. The 31 runs eclipsed the mark of 27 during the Raffo era, which occurred on March 11, 2014 at Murray State in a 27-7 win.
A-State also tied the school records for home runs in a game (8) and hits (26). The eight homers tied the mark set at UALR on April 10, 2005 and the Red Wolves entered the game with just seven on the year. The 26 hits tied a record set in 1994 versus Little Rock. Additionally, the team drove in 29 of those runs to break the record of 26 in the 1992 game against Memphis.
On a national scale the eight home runs are tied for the second most in a NCAA Division I game this season, while the 31 runs are tied for the fourth most in the nation this year. Arkansas State tallied 54 total bases in the game for the second most in school history and the second most in the country so far in 2018.
10 different players picked up hits in the contest, while nine drove in runs. Tobias Johnson went 4-for-6 with a career-best six RBI as the Curtis, Wash., native hit two home runs, tripled, and scored four runs. Winston Welch also notched a four-hit effort for a career high and hit the first two round trippers of his career. A native of Tucson, Ariz., Welch drove in a career-best four runs and scored a career-high four times.
Nate Alberius tossed his team-high fifth quality start in the win and fifth in six starts to begin his A-State career. The team has 12 for the season, which bests the 10 from a year ago.
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.
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 fifth in the conference in walks drawn by an offense, but is 47th in the nation in the category with 114 so far this season. The Red Wolves are second in the league in hit-by-pitches with 34, and rank 41st in the nation in the category.
Grant Hawkins is 26th in the nation in walks with 21, but ranks fourth in the league in the category. He has an on-base percentage of .472 to rank fifth in the conference and 124th in the nation.
Bradey Welsh ranks fourth in the league with a 0.98 WHIP and 74th in the nation and is also third in the SBC in walks allowed per 9 innings at 1.42, which ranks 65th in the country.
267 and Counting for Raffo; New Faces on Staff
A-State head coach Tommy Raffo has a career record of 267-268-1 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.