A-State drops heartbreaker to No. 14 Ole Miss

OXFORD, Miss. — The Arkansas State baseball got the go-ahead run to the plate in the top of the ninth, but couldn’t score as the Red Wolves fell to No. 14 Ole Miss 4-3 Wednesday night at Oxford University Stadium/Swayze Field.

Ty Michelotti pinch-hit for Dustin Jones and legged out an infield single to shortstop with one out to give the go-ahead run, Zach Maggio, a chance to hit, but after several throws to first, Ole Miss (18-4) reliever Josh Laxer caught Michelotti leaning for the second out of the inning. Maggio flew out to right field to end the game and give Ole Miss a 4-3 win.

The Red Wolves (11-9) led 3-2 going into the bottom of the seventh inning, but after an infield single, bunt, and single the Rebels plated the tying run. After another single to left field put runners on the corners with one out, A-State made a pitching change to Cody Woodhouse. On the first pitch from Woodhouse, Braxton Lee plated the winning run with a squeeze bunt. Woodhouse struck out the next batter to end the inning.

Colton Kibler took the loss for the Red Wolves after giving up two runs on four hits in 1 1/3 innings. A-State starter Tanner Gaines was solid and gave up two runs on three hits with three walks and three strikeouts in 5+ innings of work. Scott Weathersby earned the win for the Rebels by pitching 2 1/3 innings allowing no runs, no hits, and striking out five.

Offensively, Maggio and Stuart Levy each recorded two hits and scored one run, while Lucas Feddersen and Kevin Fitzpatrick each had one hit and drove in a run. As a team, Arkansas State outhit the Rebels 8-7.

Arkansas State returns to action Friday for its second Sun Belt Conference series of the season against UT Arlington. First pitch from Clay Gould Ballpark in Arlington, Texas, is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

Bears take down Golden Lions

PINE BLUFF — The University of Central Arkansas Bears got a three-run home run from junior Wesley Hoover to handle the UA-Pine Bluff Golden Lions for the second consecutive day, winning 13-1 on Wednesday night at Taylor Field.

The Bears (11-8) piled up 10 hits, including three from Hoover, to score a combined 31 runs against the Golden Lions in two games after Tuesday’s 18-12 victory.

UCA pitchers Brandon Schmidt and Jon Rand combined to hold the Golden Lions to just one hit through five innings, and just four hits for the game. Connor McClain pitched the eighth inning and Scott Zimmerle the ninth inning for UCA, allowing just one hit and no runs.

The Bears put up six runs in the first two innings, scoring two in the first off just one hit, and adding four more in the second on just two hits. Hoover had an RBI double in the first and Nick Rougeau had a run-scoring double in the second.

After a scoreless third frame, the Bears put up three more in the fourth, with Hoover’s two-run single down the right-field line the big blow. Four more runs came across in the fifth, three coming on Hoover’s blast to right center, giving him a career-high six runs batted in on the night.

Senior shortstop Justin Treece finished 3 for 3 for the Bears, who also took advantage of four UAPB errors. Jerimiah Figueroa had two of the Golden Lions’ four hits. UAPB pitchers also hit four batters and walked nine. Rand threw two-hit ball over five relief innings for the Bears in his longest outing of the season.

The Bears return to Southland Conference play this weekend, hosting Sam Houston State beginning at 6 p.m. Friday at Bear Stadium.

Delta State defeats Harding in pitchers’ duel

SEARCY — No. 18 Delta State defeated No. 30 Harding 3-1 on Tuesday in a pitchers’ duel between of two nationally-ranked teams at Jerry Moore Field.

Harding (16-9) will next play at Arkansas-Monticello beginning Friday in a three-game Great American Conference series.

The Bisons gave the starting nod to sophomore Jacob Stripling, who made only his third collegiate start against the Statesmen. Stripling was outstanding through five innings. He allowed only two hits—a first inning double to Carlos Leal and a fifth inning double to Dex Harrington.

In the sixth, Stripling (1-1) hit Landon Thibodeaux to open the inning and walked Jordan Chovanec before leaving the game. Hunter Payne entered for the Bisons and retired two hitters before Ricky Velez lined a single to right center to score both Thibodeaux and Chovanec and give Delta State a 2-0 lead. The runs were charged to Stripling and were the first two he has allowed this season in 12 innings of work.

Chovanec drove in another run in the seventh off Harding reliever Alan Copeland to make it 3-0.

Delta State’s starter was Ricky Winters, who usually pitches on Sunday for the Statesmen, but missed his turn last weekend when Delta State (13-6) was rained out against Union. Winters, a senior, did not allow a hit until the sixth inning when Harding junior Kyler Offenbacker shot a single back up the middle into centerfield.

Winters (5-0) walked only one and struck out seven in six innings, lowering his ERA to 1.27 for the 2014 season.

A late Harding rally brought the potential winning run to the plate in the ninth inning. Trent Wooldridge singled to lead off the inning and advanced to second on Harrison Hunter’s ground out. Matt Calhoun’s single to right scored Wooldridge. Following a strikeout by Delta State closer Taylor Stark, Noah Chandler singled to left and moved Calhoun to second. Both runners moved up a base on a wild pitch with designated hitter Erin McCarver at the plate. With the count full, McCarver lined a pitch back up the middle but Statesmen shortstop Benji Sullivan made a lunging catch to end the game.

Stark earned his third save.

Offenbacker had two of Harding’s five hits for his second multi-hit game of the season.

Wonder Boys slam Hillcats

RUSSELLVILLE — Patrick Castleberry went 2-for-3 driving in three runs, James Sharp went 2-for-4 driving in two, Sage Boehner went 2-for-3 driving in two, Lucas McDannold and Matthew Miller each went 1-for-1 driving in two apiece as the No. 13 Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys (19-6) slammed the Rogers State Hillcats (12-10) 13-1 Tuesday afternoon at Tech Field.

James Sharp singled to start off the first inning for Tech. Patrick Castleberry followed Sharp by belting a two-run homerun to left field.

Tech added five runs in the second, one in each the third and fifth innings to go up 9-0. The Wonder Boys tacked on four runs in the eighth with a pair of two-run doubles and Tech led 13-0.

In the top of the ninth, the Hillcats would score one run to avoid the shutout, setting the final score at 13-1.

Mason Reynolds took the win for the Wonder Boys after pitching two innings and fanning one.

Six Wonder Boys relievers combined to hold Rogers State scoreless until the ninth, highlighted by Ethan Crocker striking out the side in the seventh.

The Wonder Boys will travel to Magnolia this weekend to play a three-game series against Southern Arkansas.

Reddies rally late, sweeps Central Christian

ARKADELPHIA — Henderson State scored five runs in the sixth-inning to rally for a 5-1 win over Central Christian College to complete the double-header sweep of the Tigers. The Reddies claimed game one of the double-header with a 9-3 victory.

Henderson State (9-19) got the timely hitting it needed as the Reddies put together three key hits in the inning.

With two-outs and the bases load, Joseph Gary drove in two runs with Henderson’s first hit of the game.

Hayden Lessenbery then blasted a two-run double to increase the Reddie lead to 4-1. Hayden Daniel entered the game to run for Lessenbery and scored on a Lance Fields single to right field for the final run of the game.

Henderson State worked out four pitchers in the game with Rob Thomas getting the win to improve to 2-1 on the season.

Stephen Brooks started the game for the Reddies and pitched three innings, striking out a pair of batters, and scattering three hits.

Matt Evans went 4-for-4 in the opener, including having a double and three runs batted in to lead the Reddie offense.

Henderson collected 12 hits in the game and scored three runs in the second-inning and five more in the fourth-inning.

Luke McGuire went 2-for-4 in the game with two runs scored while driving in Henderson’s first run of the game. Lessenbery also went 2-for-4, while Hawkins had a three-run triple in Henderson’s 5-run fourth-inning.

Chris Hunt went the distance on the mound to pick up his first collegiate win. The freshman from Greenwood struck out three batters and improved to 1-1 on the season.

Henderson State will play host to Northwestern Oklahoma in a three-game Great American Conference series with one game on Friday at Clyde Berry Field, and a doubleheader on Saturday.