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A-State is now 12-20 on the year and 4-11 in league play after splitting a Saturday doubleheader against UT Arlington with A-State winning game one 6-4 and losing game two 4-2. The Red Wolves dropped the series finale by a score of 11-2.
Drew Tipton had a solid series at the plate with a .417 batting average, .462 OBP, and .833 slugging percentage. He hit his first home run of the year, registered two doubles, and stole a base.
Bradey Welsh and Nate Alberius posted quality starts in the series against the Mavericks with Welsh earning his second win of the season. The quality start for Welsh was his fifth of the year, while Alberius posted his team-high seventh of the season, but got a no decision.
The team now has 16 quality starts on the season with all 12 of A-State’s wins coming when the starter registers a quality start. The 16 quality starts are the most by an A-State pitching staff since 2015 when the team had 18.
The Red Wolves rank inside the top 100 in the country in walks and hit-by-pitches with its 159 walks ranking 72nd and 47 HBP’s ranking 55th. Kyle MacDonald is 41st in the nation in on-base percentage (.483).
A-State vs. Ole Miss In-Depth Series History
A-State trails the all-time series with Ole Miss by a count of 25-84, but shut out Ole Miss last season 5-0 on May 16 in front of a Tomlinson Stadium record crowd of 1,188. Bryan Ayers tied his career high with seven innings of shutout baseball to earn the win. Alex Howard had three hits and two RBI to lead the offense. The shutout for A-State was the first over the Rebels in school history. Ole Miss took the meeting in Oxford, Miss., last season on Feb. 21 by a score of 16-4 with Casey Vaughan hitting his first career home run in the contest.
Arkansas State won the first meeting between the two schools by a score of 7-3 in 1951 with Ole Miss taking the second game by a count of 11-4. The Rebels went on to win 12 straight until A-State claimed a 9-8 victory in the second of four games during the 1961 season. The Red Wolves swept two meetings during the 1968 season by scores of 2-1 and 7-6 and didn't sweep the Rebels again until 1978 when A-State won two games by the scores of 6-1 and 7-5 with both games being hosted in Blytheville, Ark. Arkansas State swept Ole Miss during the 1988 season by scores of 6-5 and 13-11 and won the only meeting in 1994 9-4 in 10 innings. A-State won both meetings in 2003 (3-2 and 8-5) and won two-of-three games in 2004 with an 11-7 win over the 10th-ranked Rebels in Oxford before a 9-8 loss at No. 7 Ole Miss. A-State took the rubber game 7-6 over No. 6 Ole Miss later in the year. A-State defeated No. 2 Ole Miss in Oxford early in the 2008 season by a score of 7-5. Along with a win over No. 2 Louisiana- Lafayette in 2014, that is the highest-ranked opponent A-State has ever defeated.
Head coach Tommy Raffo is 3-16 against Ole Miss during his tenure but has defeated the Rebels in each of the last two seasons in Jonesboro. Additionally, five of those losses have come by one run, while another was by two runs.
The April 18 meeting in Oxford, Miss., is the latest the Red Wolves have played at Ole Miss under Tommy Raffo since the 2013 season when the game at Ole Miss was played on March 27.
Ole Miss enters the game ranked as high as No. 7 in a couple of the college baseball polls. The Rebels are 29-8 on the year and 8-7 in Southeastern Conference matchups. Mississippi is 21-1 in non-conference contests so far this season with the only loss to Long Beach State on March 3 by a score of 4-3 in Long Beach, Calif.
Notes from UT Arlington Series
A-State is now 39-46 against UT Arlington after losing two of three to the Mavs April 14-15. Friday’s game was pushed back to be part of a Saturday doubleheader after lightning from storms in the area Friday night prevented the teams from playing.
The Red Wolves held on to win game one 6-4 after jumping out to a 6-0 lead. Winston Welch led the Red Wolves at the plate with two hits and two RBI, including his fourth double of the season. Jeremy Brown hit his ninth double in the game, while Grant Hawkins hit his second home run in the contest. Bradey Welsh allowed two runs on four hits with one walk and three strikeouts in six innings for his second win of the season. Bo Ritter came in and got the final 2.2 outs for his second save of the season.
Nate Alberius went seven innings and allowed two runs on four hits with one walk and four strikeouts, but left with the game tied 2-2 and A-State lost 4-2. The Red Wolves out hit UTA 7-6 and are now 10-3 when they out hit the other team.
The final game of the series was a 4-2 game before UTA scored seven in the bottom of the eighth inning to win 11-2. Drew Tipton had his third three-hit game of the year and led off the contest with a home run, the team’s first lead-off home run since Ty White did so against ULM April 22, 2016. Kyle MacDonald hit his team-best fifth home run in the game and has a .598 slugging percentage to rank as fourth best in the SBC.
Notes from Memphis Midweek Series
A-State is now 58-97-1 against Memphis as the 156 meetings between the two schools are the most against any team for Arkansas State.
The Red Wolves were swept by Memphis 4-1 and 6-3, marking the first time since 2015, and only the second time under head coach Tommy Raffo Memphis has accomplished that feat.
A-State could only muster three hits in the opener at Memphis with Drew Tipton collecting two, while Jeremy Brown left the yard for the first time this season and eighth time in his career, which ties him with Justin Felix for most round-trippers among active players with eight.
Zachary Patterson made his second start of the season and allowed just two runs over a career-high 5.1 innings. He struck out three and walked two. Korey Wasson pitched a scoreless inning in relief and hasn’t allowed a run in two straight outings.
A-State’s offense was much better in game two at Tomlinson Stadium as the team out hit the Tigers 11-10, but an error led to five unearned runs as Memphis won 6-3.
Eight of the nine players in the lineup registered hits for A-State with Kyle MacDonald going 3-for-3 and Jacob Jablonski tallying two hits for the second multi-hit game of his young career. The three-hit game for MacDonald was the second of the year. He has 12 multi-hit games to lead the team. Winston Welch drove in two runs to lead the team while Caleb Squire knocked in the other. Welch’s multiple-RBI game was the third of the season for him.
Carter Holt made his first start and lasted four innings on the mound to tie a career high, and allowed five runs, but none were earned. Chase Nix, Payton Lannon, Peyton Culbertson (first relief appearance since 2016), Tanner Kirby, and Coulton Lee all tossed an inning out of the pen with Kirby allowing the lone run. It was Nix’s first scoreless appearance of the season and the fourth for Lannon, who got to throw to his younger brother Andrew Lannon for the second time this season. Lee’s appearance was the 82nd of his career, which has him three away from tying Ryan Hamilton (2001-04) for fourth most in school history.
Arkansas State had its third walk-off victory of the season in the March 29 8-7 win over Louisiana when Caleb Squire was hit by a pitch in the bottom of the 12th inning. It is A-State’s 29th walk-off win under Tommy Raffo and only the second by HBP with the other occurring this season when A-State beat SEMO 7-6 on a HBP by Jacob Jablonski. The other walk off this season was a single by Drew Tipton to give A-State a 9-8 win against SIU March 13.
15 of those walk-offs have 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 13 being singles. During that time frame, two have been via wild pitch, fielder’s choice, and hit-by-pitch, while one was by sacrifice fly.
Five of the walk-off wins have been by scores of 4-3, while four have been by scores of 3-2, 7-6, and 8-7. 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.
270 and Counting for Raffo; New Faces on Staff
A-State head coach Tommy Raffo has a career record of 270-276-1 as he is currently in his 10th season at Arkansas State. The 270 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.