MARTIN, Tenn. (3-25-2008) — Junior catcher Lawson Hipps went 4-for-5 with a home run and five RBI’s to lead the Arkansas State Indians to a 12-6 victory over the Skyhawks of Tennessee-Martin Tuesday afternoon at Skyhawk Field. The Tribe jumped out to a 7-0 lead, survived a 6-run comeback from Tennessee-Martin in the middle innings, and finished strong with five straight runs to improve to 13-10 on the season. The Indians scattered a season-high 17 hits on the day.
“I was very proud of our team today,” said ASU Head Coach Keith Kessinger. “It was a fast infield and the wind was blowing out to right field. We felt like we needed to score and we came out and jumped on them 7-0.”
Arkansas State went to work in its first at-bat, plating three runs to go on top early. Center fielder Derrick Coleman drew a lead-off walk to open the inning, moved to third on a single up the middle from shortstop Ryan Hudgins, and scored on a single into left field from third baseman Drew Benes. After first baseman Brandon Eller reached on a fielder’s choice, Hudgins and Eller came home on a single from Hipps for the 3-1 first inning lead.
Hipps raised his RBI total to five in the third inning with a two-out, three-run homer over the right field wall, followed by a solo home run from right fielder Joey Hoffman, raising the ASU lead to 7-0. The home runs were the first of Hipps’ and Hoffman’s career.
Tennessee-Martin used a two-run home run from center fielder Kyle Dudley followed by three straight Indian errors to plate four runs in the fourth. Dudley drove in another run in the fifth, and designated hitter Bryce Carden added an RBI single later in the inning to cut the Indian lead to a single run at 7-6.
The Tribe countered with three in the sixth, getting an RBI single from Hudgins and a two-run single from Eller to bump the ASU lead to 10-6, and Indian reliever Jordan Torr took command in the bottom of the inning. Torr got out of a bases-loaded no-out jam in the bottom of the sixth when he struck out left fielder Miles Hartsfield and got first baseman Wes Patterson to hit into a 6-4-3 double play.
A sacrifice fly from third baseman Guy Brown drove in another run for ASU in the seventh and an RBI single from Coleman in the ninth set the final at 12-6.
Torr picked up the win for the Indians, giving up just three hits in 5.2 innings with one walk and four strikeouts after taking the mound in the third with the bases loaded and one out.
“Jordan Torr did a great job in the innings he was out there,” said Kessinger. “It has been a long time since he has been out there and he really did a good job. Getting out of both of those jams was really big. We hadn’t played defense up until the point he went in, but he kind of took control and got us out of the third. I thought the sixth might have been even bigger because we went up 10-6 and felt like we had a little breathing room. The next thing you know they had the bases loaded and nobody out, and he got the strikeout and the double-play ground ball.”
In addition to the big day at the plate from Hipps, who now has 11 hits in his last 15 at-bats, the Indians also got three hits each from Ferguson, Hudgins and Eller.
Arkansas State returns to action Wednesday night when the Tribe travels to Memphis for a 6:30 p.m. game with the Tigers at Nat Buring Stadium.