JONESBORO, Ark. – The first time outside in months proved a bit rocky for the Miami University baseball team in a pair of opening-day losses at Arkansas State on Saturday.
The RedHawks (0-2) dropped a tight 3-0 decision in the first game of a doubleheader before falling 18-8 in the nightcap.
“We made too many mistakes to win today,” head coach Danny Hayden said. “Our pitching gave us a chance to win game one, but we couldn’t get a timely hit. We couldn't get a timely hit in some spots, but we still made too many mistakes in all facets of the game to pick up a win today.”
Arkansas State 3, Miami 0
Miami outhit Arkansas State (2-0 and earned more base runners than the Red Wolves, but the Red and White stranded nine men on base in a 3-0 game one setback.
The RedHawks put together scoring threats in the first two innings. A Matt Honchel single and Jake Romano walk a pair of runners aboard with one out, but the Red Wolves induced an inning-ending double play to escape the jam. Gary Russo led off the second with a double and advanced to third on a bunt, but ASU kept him from scoring on a foul fly ball to left, gunning him down at home plate to keep it scoreless.
Seth Varner managed some traffic on the bases as well over his first couple innings, getting a strikeout with a runner at third and one out before escaping the first with no damage. The senior also stranded a runner in the second, when a leadoff error put a base runner at second base. Varner induced consecutive fly outs and ended the inning by fanning Lucas Feddersen.
The first three Red Wolves reached base in the third as Zach Maggio and Zach George singled after Dustin Jones was hit by a pitch. George’s single plated Jones and sacrifice flies by Austin Baker and Kevin Fitzpatrick put the Red and White behind 3-0 after three full innings of play.
MU brought the tying run to the plate in the top of the sixth. Romano drew his second walk of the day and promptly stole second base. John Crummy followed with a two-out walk of his own, but Bradley Wallace induced a fly out to escape the jam and end his afternoon on the mound.
Singles by Crummy and Dan Walsh put runners and first and second with only one out in the ninth inning, bringing the tying run up to the plate. Adam Grantham struck out the next batter, but the runners moved up on a wild pitch. Kendall Johnson drew a two-out walk to load the bases, bringing the go ahead run to the plate for the first time since the Red Wolves took the lead. Grantham got out of the inning with another strikeout to finish the game out.
Varner (0-1) turned in a solid opening day start for the RedHawks, allowing three runs (two earned) on six hits in six innings of work. He struck out three batters and did not walk one. Charles Zubrod also tossed two scoreless innings out of the bullpen, striking out one batter and only issuing one walk for his lone base runner. Wallace tossed six scoreless innings, allowing four hits and three walks while fanning five to pick up the win for the Red Wolves. Three more relievers combined for the shutout.
Offensively, Crummy (2-for-3 with a double and a walk) and Walsh (2-for-3) both had multi-hit games while Honchel (1-for-3 with a walk), Romano (two walks and a steal) and Johnson (1-for-3, a walk and a steal) also reached base twice apiece.
Arkansas State 18, Miami 8
Miami fought back from a 10-4 deficit to claw within three runs late, but an eight-run seventh inning by Arkansas State sent MU to an 18-8 loss in the nightcap.
Both teams broke out offensively in the early innings of the nightcap. The Red Wolves plated three runs in the first inning as Matt Burgess’ RBI single opened the scoring and a RedHawk error sent two more runs home to make it 3-0 ASU after one inning.
After being blanked for the first 10 innings of the day, Miami’s bats came to life in the second. Walsh’s one-out single started the rally and was immediately followed by a double by Scott Slappey. Chad Sedio brought them home with a two-run single and scored after Max Andresen doubled one batter later, evening the score at 3-3. With two-outs, Honchel slashed an RBI single through the left side of the infield to give Miami its first lead of the day at 4-3.
ASU answered with three more runs in the bottom of the second. The first four Red Wolves reached base on a single, two walks and a hit batter. George’s bases loaded walk tied the game up and an RBI groundout by Austin Baker put Arkansas State back ahead, 5-4. Kevin Fitzpatrick capped the scoring in the second with a two-out RBI double that made it a 6-4 ballgame.
A two-out single by Walsh was followed by a walk by Slappey in the top of the third. A passed ball moved both into scoring position, but Chandler Hawkins slipped out of trouble by inducing a groundout to end the Miami threat.
The Red Wolves’ offense kept tacking on runs with four more in the fourth inning. A single and a walk started the inning and the runners each moved 90 feet on an error. Burgess singled in two more runs and came around two batters later on an RBI single by Collin Massanelli. A sacrifice fly by Dustin Jones gave ASU a 10-4 edge after four innings.
Miami pulled a little closer with a run in the top of the sixth as the Sedio singled and Andresen was plunked to start the inning. Honchel drove Sedio home with a fielder’s choice ground out to cut the deficit to 10-5. The Red and White got two more in the seventh on Andresen’s two-run single with two outs, bringing Walsh and Sedio around to score and cutting the score to 10-7 ASU.
RedHawk errors proved costly in the bottom of the seventh as back-to-back miscues with one out opened the door for an eight-run Red Wolves frame. That rough spot made the score 18-7 and put the contest away. The RedHawks tacked on one run in the ninth on a Sedio groundout to cap the scoring.
The RedHawks and Red Wolves conclude their season opening series on Sunday (2 p.m. ET). Ryan Powers will toe the rubber for Miami.