Jags Defeat ASU 6-2 In First Round of SBC Championship

May 21, 2015 · By · Filed Under Baseball, Sun Belt Conference 

SunBeltLogo_2013The top seeded Jaguar baseball team defeated 8th seeded Arkansas State 6-2 in the opening round of the Sun Belt Conference Championship at Riddle-Pace Field in Troy, Alabama on Wednesday.

Left-hander Jared Gates (5-3) allowed only two runs on four hits while striking out two with seven walks in 7 1/3 innings to earn the win. Ben Tayler struck out one in 2/3 of an inning of scoreless relief to earn his seventh save of the season.

The Red Wolves struck first in the top of the third inning when they led off the inning with a walk, then moved to third on a double to right-center field. They pushed the run across the plate when Zach George hit an RBI groundout to shortstop.

The Jags answered in the bottom half of the inning after Davis Knapp drew a one-out walk then advanced to third on a single back up the middle by Ryan Raspino. Cole Billingsly then hit an RBI single to right field to bring Knapp in and tie the game at one each.

USA took their first lead of the game with a three run fourth inning. Adam Ballew and Danny Martinez reached base on consecutive singles to start the inning. Gleason hit an RBI single off the right-field wall to score Ballew and a one-run lead. Matt Bolger hit a sacrifice bunt to advance both runners into scoring position with one out. Knapp would ground out to second to score Martinez and give the Jags a 3-1 lead. Raspino hit an RBI single to center field to bring Gleason home for a 4-1 lead through four innings.

The bottom of the fifth inning began with Benn Gann reaching base after being hit by a pitch, then advance to second on Bud Collura’s grounder to shortstop which was mishandled allowing Gann to reach second base. Ballew hit a double off of the right-field wall to score Gann. Then Martinez followed suit with an RBI groundout to first base allowing Collura to score for a 6-1 Jaguar advantage.

The Red Wolves threatened in the top of the sixth inning after loading the bases on a pair of walks and a fielder’s choice, but Gated would work out of it with an inning ending flyout to left field.

In the top of the seventh, Gates hit a batter to lead off the inning then a bunt-single put runners on first and second. Another Gates walk would load the bases with no outs. But Gates would induce a 6-4-3 double play allowing the runner on third to score the final run of the game. Then an inning ending flyout to left field would end the threat.

Ballew finished 3-for-4 with a double, an RBI and a run scored. Raspino went 2-for-4 with an RBI while Billingsley had two hits, an RBI and two stolen bases.

South Alabama will face 5th seeded Georgia State on Thursday in the second round of the SBC Championship.

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