The teams combined for 22 runs, 27 hits and seven errors on the afternoon, but it was A-State that pushed across 11 runs in the second and third innings to take a lead it would not surrender.
Matt Burgess and Ty Michelotti led the charge for the Red Wolves (4-4), as the pair combined to go 6-for-11 with three runs scored and four RBIs and one home run. Michelotti was 4-for-5 on the day, while Burgess had a grand slam in the third inning that gave A-State an eight-run advantage.
In the bottom of the second inning, Dustin Jones and Zach Maggio bookended a Michelotti single to load the bases with no one out and Lucas Feddersen drove in two runs with single to centerfield to put runners on the corners. After George was hit by a pitch for the second straight at bat, Austin Baker drove in a run with fielder’s choice and Stuart Levy followed with a two-run double to left center to give A-State a 5-3 advantage after two innings.
A-State broke the game open with six runs in the bottom of the third after Jones and Michelotti reached to start the frame, which the Redbirds’ starting pitcher Will Headean from the game. Matt Lambert came in relief and immediately gave up a run on wild play involving Maggio.
The redshirt senior struck out swinging, but the pitch bounced in the dirt and got away from the Redbirds’ catcher which allowed Michelotti to score from third and Maggio to reach first base safely. George and Levy followed with walks to load to the bases and Matt Burgess connected with a grand slam to push the A-State lead to 11-3. It was the first home run of Burgess’ career and the first Arkansas State grand slam since 2011 when Jordan Castaldo hit one against FIU that year.
The Red Wolves tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning when Feddersen drove in Maggio with a double down the left field line, while George brought Feddersen home with a sacrifice fly later in the inning to push the lead to 13-3. The Redbirds scored three run in the top of the fifth, but A-State got a run back in the bottom half of the inning when Jones scored on error by the Illinois State second baseman when Maggio stole second to make the lead 14-6.
Illinois State scored two runs in the top of the eighth inning, but Coulton Lee shut the door on any hopes of a Redbirds’ rally to give A-State its fourth victory of the year.
David Owen earned the win after tossing five innings and giving up six runs on eight hits. The Red Wolves’ bullpen was sharp again, giving up just two runs in four innings of work, highlighted by a perfect ninth inning from freshman Tyler Zuber.
Owen gave up a run in the top of the first inning after issuing a leadoff walk to Daniel Dwyer who came around to score on an RBI double from Brock Stewart to the Redbirds an early 1-0 lead.
The Redbirds added two more runs in the top of the second inning when Jack Czeszewski sent a two-run home run over the fence in right field to give Illinois State a 3-0 lead after 1 ½ innings.
George extended his hitting streak to 11 straight games with single in the bottom of the eighth inning, while Stuart Levy had one hit and two RBIs on the afternoon. Feddersen has also had a good day at the plate, going 3-for-5 with three RBIs.
Arkansas State will return to the diamond on Tuesday Feb. 25 for a matchup with SEMO. The first game is set to begin at 1 p.m. with a seven-inning game to follow 30 minutes after the conclusion of game one. For in-game updates follow @AStateGameDay on Twitter and stay up to date with A-State baseball by following the team on Twitter (@AStateBaseball) and Facebook (Facebook.com/RedWolvesbaseball).
(Courtesy: ASU Sports Information)
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