A-State baseball completes season-opening sweep of UAPB
JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Wil French drove in a team-high three runs on three hits Sunday afternoon at Tomlinson Stadium-Kell Field, helping the Arkansas State baseball team to a 12-8 victory to sweep its season-opening series against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
A-State (3-0) pounded out 15 hits and played error-free baseball for the second time on the weekend, while UAPB (0-3) recorded 13 hits and committed four errors.
French was one of four Red Wolves with multiple hits, matching his career high in hits, while the three RBIs are a career-best to go along with two runs. The leadoff man finished the weekend 7-for-12 at the dish with five runs and five RBIs.
Brandon Hager went 2-for-3 with a pair of runs scored and Kody Darch recorded two hits, including a double, and drove in a pair of runs. Jared Toler and Allen Grier registered two hits apiece, while Cross Jumper touched home twice.
Austin Kapela (1-0) earned the win in his first start in the Scarlet and Black, striking out four in five innings pitched, allowing just one run on five hits. A-State used seven relievers behind Kapela, with the staff totaling 11 strikeouts. Aaron Evers tossed a perfect inning in the seventh, striking out two.
Edwin DeLaCruz led UAPB with a 3-for-4 day with two RBIs. Micah Brown and Drew Cates each notched two hits, while Cates and JaKobi Jackson scored twice.
On the mound, Brandon Little (0-1) allowed eight runs on nine hits in just 3 2/3 innings before giving way to Frank Perez and Brannon Bargsley.
The Red Wolves struck first in the third on Darcy’s two-out double that plated Hager, but UAPB answered with an RBI double from DeLaCruz to tie it at 1-1. That tie would be short-lived, as A-State exploded for seven runs in the fourth to chase Little and open up an 8-1 lead.
Three straight batters reached base to open the fourth, with Jumper scoring an RBI single from French. Blake Burris followed with a base hit, with an errant throw causing Hunter Thomas to score. Hager and Darcy drove in French and Burris, then Jumper drove in Hager with a double. A wild pitch allowed Cail to score the final run of the frame and led to Little being lifted from the contest.
A-State tacked on two more in the fifth when French singled home Grier, then scored on a throwing error after a Hager single.
The visitors got a run back on a bases-loaded walk, but the hosts pushed across two more in the sixth on an RBI single from Toler that scored Cason Campbell, then Jumper scored on a double play to make it 12-2.
DeLaCruz doubled home Jackson in the eighth to make it 12-3, then UAPB rallied for five runs in the ninth. Jakob Frederick entered with two outs, coaxing a flyout to end the threat.
A-State faces a tough early test Tuesday, traveling to 2022 College World Series champion Ole Miss for a midweek bout. First pitch from Swayze Field is slated for 4 p.m. on SEC Network+. The radio broadcast can be heard on The Ticket Radio Network stations 95.3/96.9/104.1/970 AM in Jonesboro.
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