Photo Courtesy: A-State Athletics
JONESBORO, Ark. (ASU) - Ryan Emery drove home the go-ahead runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to propel Arkansas State 7-5 victory over Missouri State Wednesday afternoon at Tomlinson Stadium and Kell Field.
Emery drove home Alex Potts and Logan Uxa to give A-State (11-6) a 7-5 lead and freshman Adam Grantham pitched the final two innings to earn his first career save. Grantham allowed just one hit and struck out two batters in just his second relief appearance on the year.
"We were real excited about the energy and what we brought to the table after the performance last night," ASU head baseball coach Tommy Raffo said. "We knew it was going to be a dog fight today and they are very good club. We got down early and that was tough after last night, but we battled back and were able to come back and tie the game and eventually take the lead and were able to close it out."
Missouri State (11-4) jumped out in front with four unearned runs in the top of the first inning. Tate Matheny started the game off by reaching on an error by Claude Johnson at third base and the Bears got to junior starter Cody Woodhouse to take an early 4-0 lead.
The Red Wolves took advantage of two Missouri State miscues in the bottom of the second innings to rally and tie the game at 4-4. Kaleb Brown extended the inning after reaching on an error by Bears' pitcher Matt Hall that would have ended the inning. ASU took advantage and scored two runs when Dustin Jones drove in Emery and Ryan Roberts to close the gap to 4-2. Roberts also helped extend the inning by beating a double play ball that would have ended the inning.
A-State scored another run when Kevin Fitzpatrick reached on error by the Bears' third basemen that allowed Brown to score and Johnson drove in the tying when he drew a bases loaded walk the plated Jones.
"One of the biggest offensive plays of the game besides Emery's two-out was Ryan Roberts beating out that double play ball," Raffo said. "That extended the inning and it gave us a chance to get more runs. It is amazing the way little things happen in this game that can turn into positives."
Missouri State scored a run in the top of the fourth inning, the game's first earned run, to take a 5-4 advantage, but Woodhouse refused to let the Bears' tack on anymore. The junior right-hander came back after giving up a two-out RBI double to get Luke Voit to fly out to center field to end the inning.
Brandon Milhouse came in relief of Woodhouse and pitched three scoreless innings to pick up his first win of the season. The senior left-hander allowed just two hits, struck out two and did not walk a batter in his four appearance of the season.
Roberts tied the game in the bottom of the fifth inning when he hit a double down the right field line that allowed Uxa to score from third. Uxa recorded just his third triple of his career of his career early in the inning to help setup the scoring opportunity.
A-State took the lead for good in the seventh inning when Potts and Uxa reached base on back-to-back singles to setup Emery's go-ahead double.
A-State will open up Sun Belt Conference play this weekend with a three-game series at UALR. Friday's game time is set for 6 p.m., while Saturday's contest will start at 4. Sunday's finale is scheduled to begin at 1.