Red Wolves win penultimate game of season
By Jacob Wicinski | Sports Reporter
Delta Digital News Service
May 20, 2023
JONESBORO, Ark. – The Arkansas State Red Wolves baseball team win their penultimate game against the South Alabama Jaguars, 13-6.
The Red Wolves would get the scoring started in the first inning. first baseman Brandon Hager (11) singled to right center, driving home center fielder Blake Burris (9) who was situated on second base, making it a 1-0 ballgame.
Despite Red Wolves outfielder Nathan VerMaas’ (30) robbing a South Alabama home run, the Jaguars would tie the game 1-1 with South Alabama catcher Cole Kitzner (20) doubling and driving home third baseman Hunter Donaldson (4).
In the bottom of the fourth inning, the Red Wolves would take back control of the lead. Second baseman Wil French (10) would walk in a run, while Hager would ground into a fielder’s choice, and third baseman Daedrick Cail (3) would walk in a run of his own. By the time the final out was made in the inning, the Red Wolves were up 4-1.
In the top of the fifth inning, Arkansas State pitcher Kyler Carmack (2) allowed a single and a walk but was able to get out of the inning unscathed. Carmack would leave the game with a 4-1 lead, allowing seven hits, one earned run, two walks, and two strikeouts on 92 pitches and five complete innings.
“Kyler was phenomenal. He just gutted it out,” said Red Wolves head coach Tommy Raffo after the game. “He had some moments to where he had runners on base, and he had to make pitches.”
A-State would only expand on their lead, with catcher Dylan DeButy (23) hitting a three-run home run giving the Red Wolves a 7-1 lead going into the sixth inning.
“I didn’t really feel the ball off the bat, so I knew something good was going to happen,” DeButy said after the game. “I just tried to put something in play there and it just got up and went.”
However, at the top of the sixth, the Jaguars would come back to score four runs , hitting a combined six hits in the top stretch alone. After a South Alabama sac fly, four singles, and a wild pitch, all driving home a run, South Alabama would now only be trailing 7-5.
Arkansas State would immediately answer in the bottom of the inning with Wil French singling to left field, driving home designated hitter John Hoskyn (19) and shortstop Kody Darcy (36), expanding the lead to 9-5.
Wil French would also add to his total RBI, producing a sacrifice fly with Kody Darcy scoring on the play, with the lead now being 10-5. First baseman Brandon Hager would add to his team-leading slugging percentage with a three-run homerun of his own, enlarging the lead to 13-5.
“As you pressure a team, you then get an opportunity for two guys that have some power,” Tommy Raffo said on DeButy and Hager’s homeruns. “They took advantage of some swings with some balls that were in the zone. When you see the ball fly out of the yard, it makes everyone happy in the dugout.”
South Alabama would add a run in the ninth, making Arkansas State’s lead now 13-6, with that being the final score.
With the Red Wolves scoring a combined 20 runs in their last two games, DeButy stated that he and his offense were striving for quality at-bats.
“We’ve been getting a lot of jobs done,” DeButy said. “We’re going for quality at-bats, or as we call them ‘QABs.’ In the dugout, it’s very important that every guy gets in there and gets a QAB.”
DeButy would also highlight his pitchers, speaking on how they handle adversity.
“The unsung heroes are our pitchers,” DeButy said. “Those guys face a lot of adversity. They just get in there and get after it. Whether we put up three runs or however many, it doesn’t matter as those guys come in and shove it.”
Raffo was excited though about his team winning a series at home after the year that they have had.
“We’ve played some very close games throughout the year, and they didn’t come out in our favor,” Raffo stated. “At the same time, these guys have been getting after it all year long and just excited to see them win a series here.”
Arkansas State will look to sweep their final series of the season against the South Alabama Jaguars today at 1 p.m.
Jacob Wicinski is a 2021 graduate of Florida State University with a bachelor’s in communication and is currently seeking a masters of science in mass communication with a specialization in journalism at Arkansas State University.
Note: Feature photo by Jacob Wicinski.
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Red Wolves down Jaguars 13-6 during game 2 of series. Article may or may not reflect the views of KLEK 102.5 FM or The Voice of Arkansas Minority Advocacy Council