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Arkansas State to take on USA

By Mike Hensley

The eighth seed Arkansas State Red Wolves scored four early runs Friday afternoon en-route to a 6-2 win over the fifth seed Georgia State Panthers, sending them to a Saturday morning showdown with number one seed South Alabama.

Zach George of Arkansas State began the game by connecting with a pitch from Panther starting pitcher, Garrett Ford sending the pitch over the left field wall for a leadoff homerun, giving the Wolves the early 1-0 lead.

“Well what can you say, you open up the first at-bat of the game with a solo homerun. That really set the tone for us early,” Red Wolves head coach Tommy Raffo said. “Zach was really locked in right away and put good barrel on the ball.”

The Red Wolves were just getting started in the first; after Joe Schrimpf and Austin Baker were hit by a pitch Tanner Ring doubled, scoring Schrimpf and sending Baker to third. Baker scored on a wild pitch by Ford increasing the Red Wolves lead to 4-0.

After Red Wolves starter Jon Glidewell walked four batters out of the six batters he faced, Raffo elected to bring in Colton Kibler, and the right-hander didn’t disappoint.

Kibler finished the game pitching 6 1/3 innings allowing two runs on five hits, and striking out four batters.

“When we got Colton in the game I think it changed the tempo. He was able to get some quick outs and get some 1-2-3 innings,” Raffo said. “We had some double-plays behind him, and when you get that, you shorten the game and their lineup cant flip.”

The lone two runs for the Panthers came in the bottom of the third when after a Caden Bailey walk, Matt Rose belted a two-run homerun to left field cutting the Red Wolves lead in half.

Arkansas State answered quickly and scored two more runs in the top half of the fourth. After Jeremy Brown was hit by a pitch Lucas Feddersen reached first on an error by the Panther on a bunt attempt, sending Brown to third base. With Brown and Feddersen both in scoring position, Ring hit a base hit scoring the two base runners.

Kibler closed down from there, pitching 4 1/3 shutout innings before the bullpen took over in the bottom half of the eighth inning. Kibler pitched four 1-2-3 innings for the Red Wolves.

Tyler Zuber came in and finished off the last 1 2/3 innings wrapping up the win for the Red Wolves.

Garrett Ford took the loss for the Panthers, going just two innings allowing four runs off four hits.

Both Teams finished with just six hits during the game. George and Ring led the way for the Red Wolves racking up three hits apiece. Ring finished the game with three runs batted in.

The win sets up a showdown with South Alabama today at 9 a.m. the Red Wolves would need to win twice against the Jaguars to advance to the championship game Sunday afternoon.

“The tournament doesn’t stop, the train is still riding and your still on it, and that’s all we care about right now,” Raffo said.