BOONE, N.C. (5/12/23) – A ninth-inning rally fell short for the Arkansas State baseball team, which stranded the tying run in scoring position Friday night in a 7-6 loss at Appalachian State at Jim and Bettie Smith Stadium.
A-State (17-29, 6-17 SBC) had the go-ahead run on base with no outs, but a double play and a strikeout ended the contest, which included a two-hour pre-game rain delay before a stoppage lasting an hour, 37 minutes in the top of the sixth.
The Red Wolves out-hit the Mountaineers (24-21, 13-11) 12-10 and rallied for a four-run deficit to take a 6-4 lead in the middle innings. Wil French finished a home run shy of the cycle, reaching base four times and going 3-for-4 with three RBIs. Blake Burris doubled twice and scored, while Brayden Caskey went 2-for-3 with two RBIs. John Hoskyn also recorded multiple hits, going 2-for-3 with a double.
Hunter Draper matched his career high with six strikeouts in four innings pitched, walking just one. The southpaw allowed four runs (three earned) on seven hits before Max Charlton fanned all three batters he faced in the fifth. Arlon Butts (3-5) worked the final three innings, striking out four and walking one to give the Scarlet and Black a combined 13-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Butts allowed three runs (two earned) on three hits in the loss.
The Mountaineers struck first on a leadoff solo shot by CJ Boyd, and then tacked on two more in the second when Dylan Rogers scored on an error followed by an RBI double by Andrew Terrell. Boyd homered again in the fourth to give the hosts a 4-0 lead.
A-State loaded the bases with one out in the top of the sixth, and Caskey singled to left to plate Daedrick Cail and Kody Darcy to half the deficit before Hoskyn walked to re-load the bases. However, heavy rain resumed and forced an hour, 37-minute weather delay.
Following the stoppage, the Mountaineers turned to reliever Collin Welch after starter Xander Hamilton worked the first 5 1/3 innings, striking out nine and walking two. Hamilton allowed five of the Red Wolves’ six runs on seven hits.
French stepped in after play resumed and roped a bases-clearing, two-out triple to left to give the Scarlet and Black a 5-4 lead, but was tagged out at home attempting to score on a wild pitch.
The Red Wolves added a run in the seventh when Burris scored from third after Brandon Hager reached on a dropped fly ball, advancing to third on the play. Hager did not record a hit, but walked to extend his on-base streak to 37 games.
App State pushed across three runs in the bottom of the seventh on doubles by Luke Drumheller and Alex Reed, along with an A-State error.
A-State threatened in the eighth when Caskey attempted to score on a double by Hoskyn, but a strong throw beat him to the plate for the out. In the ninth, Burris led off with a double before Hager walked to put the go-ahead run on base with no outs, but Mountaineer closer Jackson Steensma earned his sixth save of the year by forcing a double play and strikeout swinging.
The Red Wolves look to level the series against the Mountaineers on Saturday, with first pitch slated for 2 p.m. CT on ESPN+. The radio broadcast can be heard on The Ticket Radio Network stations 95.3, 96.9 and 970 AM in Jonesboro, as well as online at 953theticket.com.
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Red Wolves Drop Rain-Soaked Series Opener at App State. Article may or may not reflect the views of KLEK 102.5 FM or The Voice of Arkansas Minority Advocacy Council