Red Wolves win marathon during senior day finale
Delta Digital News Service
May 21, 2023
By Jacob Wicinski | Sports Reporter
JONESBORO, Ark. – The Arkansas State Red Wolves outlast the South Alabama Jaguars on senior day 18-11, completing a sweep of the Jaguars in the process.
The Jaguars would first add a pair of runs in the first inning. Second baseman Erik Orbeta (2) would start the game with a triple and was brought home thanks to an errand pickoff attempt from Red Wolves’ starting pitcher Tyler Jeans (14). Center fielder Will Turner (6) would reach home on a wild pitch, making it a 2-0 South Alabama lead.
Arkansas State would get a run from a wild pitcher from Jaguars’ starting pitcher Tyler Smith (23), letting second baseman Wil French (10) score. With the deficit now to 2-1, Red Wolves designated hitter John Hoskyn (19) would homer to right center, giving Arkansas State a 4-2 lead heading into the second.
South Alabama would tie it up in the top of the second inning with an Orbeta double and a Turner single, both driving in a single run each making it a 4-4 game.
A-State would take the lead right back as left fielder Brayden Caskey (15) sac flew, driving home French. A-State would head into the third with a 5-4 lead.
Three singles in the bottom of the third would drive home four more runs for A-State, expanding the lead to 9-4.
The Jaguars would cut the deficit down to two, as right fielder Austin Thrasher (19) walked in a run and left fielder Joesph Sullivan (7) singled driving home two runs. South Alabama would not only trail 9-7.
The Red Wolves would add two more runs in the bottom of the fourth thanks to a French fielder’s choice that batted in a run and third baseman Daedrick Cail (3) driving in a run of his own being hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. After four long innings, Arkansas State would lead 11-7.
After South Alabama trimmed the deficit by scoring three runs in the sixth, the Red Wolves would only add to their lead with first baseman Brandon Hager (11) homering to center, making the score 13-10.
The Jaguars would add a single run in the bottom of the sixth, though the Red Wolves would explode for five runs in the bottom of the seventh. After an inning and a half of scoreless baseball, the Red Wolves would win by a score of 18-11.
Following the win, Red Wolves fielder Blake Burris (9) pointed out his team’s quality at-bats, nearly setting a team record.
“We almost set a new record today, I think 38 quality at-bats,” Burris stated. “Even when we were making outs, we were hitting the ball hard. We didn’t strike out often, but when we did strike out it was eight to nine-pitch at-bats.”
On the series sweep, Red Wolves head coach Tommy Raffo emphasized the challenge that his team faced.
“It was a challenge for our guys this week. We felt like we were playing a lot better at the back end and scoring a lot of runs,” Raffo said. “The challenge for this core group was to finish the right way and finish in front of this home crowd with a three-game series, and win it.”
On how his seniors have impacted him, Burris stated that they truly made him a better person.
“The seniors do such a great job of leading this team,” Burris said. “I’m really proud and really glad that God has brought them into my life. On or off the field, they have made me a better person.”
On the topic of his seniors, Raffo could only praise them and the effect they have had on his team.
“It’s been fantastic. Those guys have been some of the leaders and vocal guys in the locker room,” Raffo stated. “We’re going to miss them, but they’re a part of our Arkansas State family now.”
The Red Wolves will look to play for postseason baseball in the Sun Belt Conference tournament, which begins Tuesday, May 23.
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.
Red Wolves sweep series against Jaguars with 18-11 win. Article may or may not reflect the views of KLEK 102.5 FM or The Voice of Arkansas Minority Advocacy Council