JONESBORO, Ark. (3-6-2007) — Senior All-American Josh Yates’ walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth broke a 5-5 tie and gave the Arkansas State Indians (6-6) a 6-5 victory over Southeast Missouri State (6-3) Tuesday night at Tomlinson Stadium.
“When the eighth inning ended, I knew I was going to get a shot in the ninth,” said Yates. “I went into the locker room and sat down for a few minutes to try and clear my head. I wasn’t trying to win the ballgame, I was just trying to give the next guy a chance to drive me in, and I thank God that He gave me the ability to hit a home run tonight. He gets all the glory, not me.”
ASU led 5-1 heading into the eighth, but SEMO plated four runs in the top of the frame to knot the score at 5-5. The Redhawks took advantage of an ASU error to make it 5-2 before designated hitter Asif Shah slammed a three-run homer to pull SEMO even, setting the stage for Yates’ ninth-inning heroics.
“It would have been a very, very tough loss had we found a way to lose this game, with them scoring four runs on one hit in the eighth,” said ASU head coach Keith Kessinger. “But like I told the guys, ultimately, you win or you lose, and we found a way to win the game.”
Southeast Missouri State jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second when Daryl Graham knocked an RBI single through the middle of the Indian defense, but ASU bounced back in the bottom of the third to regain the lead at 2-1.
Freshman Cody Pace doubled to lead off for the Indians, and senior Tyler Doke reached on an error before sophomore Guy Brown doubled to right field to send both runners home for the 2-1 ASU lead.
The Indians added another run in the sixth when junior A.J. Prickel got aboard with a two-out walk, stole second, and scored on a single from junior Guy Rogers for the 3-1 Arkansas State advantage.
ASU scored two more in the seventh, both with two outs on the board, to make it 5-1. Yates delivered an RBI double in the inning, followed by an RBI single from Rogers, before SEMO tied the score in the top of the eighth.
Sophomore Nick Lambert (2-0) picked up the win for Arkansas State, working 1.2 innings. Lambert gave up one run on one hit, with a walk and a strikeout. Senior Tim Egart worked the first five innings for ASU, fanning eight batters while giving up one run on three hits and two walks. Freshman Ryan Blackburn pitched the remaining 2.1 innings, surrendering three runs on one hit with a pair of strikeouts and a walk.
Senior Josh Parham (1-1) took the loss for SEMO.
Yates led the Indians at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a double, a home run and two RBI’s.
The Indians will be back in action Wednesday night when they host Jackson State in a 6 p.m. game at Tomlinson Stadium.