JONESBORO, Ark. (3-9-2007) - The Arkansas State Indians (8-6, 1-0) broke a 7-7 tie with five runs in the bottom of the seventh inning and went on to defeat the New Orleans Privateers 12-10 Friday night at Tomlinson Stadium-Kell Field in the Sun Belt Conference opener for both teams.
With the win, Arkansas State has now won six of its past seven games, and snapped an eight-game win streak for the Privateers (10-6, 0-1).
“This first conference game was a biggie, and the guys were ready to play,” said ASU head coach Keith Kessinger. “We are starting to become a team that is finding a way to win games, and not letting just a player or two beat us.”
New Orleans jumped out to a 3-0 lead in its first at-bat, but the Indians responded in the bottom of the inning with four runs to take a 4-3 lead. Senior Josh Yates drove in Arkansas State's first run, followed by a two-run double from junior A.J. Prickle. Junior Ryan Hudgins reached on a fielder's choice to send home the fourth run of the frame for the Indians.
The Privateers used a 3-run in-the-park home run by Johnny Giavotella in the third to re-gain the lead at 6-3, but the Indians came up with three runs in the bottom of the fifth to go back on top, 7-6.
Hudgins, along with sophomores Guy Brown and Drew Rogers provided RBI singles in the fifth to push Arkansas State back into the lead.
New Orleans pulled even at 7-7 in the seventh when T.J. Baxter singled and eventually scored on an ASU error, but the Indians crossed the plate five times with two outs in the bottom of the inning to regain the lead for good.
A two-run double from freshman Cody Pace sent home the first two runs of the inning for the Indians, and a three-run homer from senior Tyler Doke stretched the Arkansas State lead to 12-7.
New Orleans scored a pair of unearned runs in the eighth, and got the tying run to the plate in the ninth, but ASU sophomore pitcher Nick Lambert struck out the final two Privateer batters to secure the win for the Indians and improve to 3-0 on the year.
Lambert finished the night with five strikeouts and three walks, giving up two hits and three runs in 2.1 innings pitched. Senior Nathan Gates worked 6.2 innings on the mound for the Indians, striking out six batters and walking one, while giving up seven runs on nine hits.
Ryan O'Shea took the loss for New Orleans, giving up 12 runs on 14 hits with no walks and a pair of strikeouts in seven innings.
Doke, Brown, Yates, Prickel, Hudgins and Pace all had two hits each to lead the Indians at the plate, with Doke driving in a team-high three runs.
Giavotella and Brandon Bowser paced New Orleans with three hits each.
Arkansas State and New Orleans will play game two of the three-game series Saturday night at 6 p.m. Game three is set for Sunday at 1 p.m.