Blake Burris drove in five runs and Tyler Jeans hurled a quality start in the Arkansas State baseball team’s 12-2 opening-day win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff Friday at Tomlinson Stadium-Kell Field.
A-State (1-0) churned out 15 hits and played errorless baseball in its first win on opening day since 2018, while limiting the Golden Lions (0-1) to just three hits. The Red Wolves touched UAPB starter Randy Little Jr. for five runs on six hits in five innings.
Jeans (1-0) fired his first career quality start, matching his career high with seven strikeouts in a career-long 6 1/3 innings. He held the Golden Lions hitless for 4 1/3 innings and gave up just two hits. Michael Finan tossed 1 2/3 innings of one-hit relief before Chase Armstrong struck out the side in the ninth.
Six Red Wolves recorded two or more hits, led by Wil French, who went 3-for-4 and reached base five times in six plate appearances. Burris recorded a pair of extra-base hits, doubling in the fourth before homering in the seventh.
Kody Darcy also homered in the seventh as part of his two-hit day, while Brandon Hager, Daedrick Cail and Allen Grier also tallied two hits apiece.
A-State plated two runs in the second on a pair of bases-loaded free passes. Hager touched home for the first run of the season when Cross Jumper reached on a hit by a pitch. A bases-loaded walk to French later scored Cail to make it 2-0 after two.
Three more runs crossed the plate in the fourth on a two-run double by Burris that scored French and Grier before Cason Tollett drove in Burris on a sac fly to center.
UAPB broke up the shutout with two runs in the top of the seventh on an RBI single by Brad Mican and a sac fly by Ben VanMaanen.
The Red Wolves answered with seven runs in the seventh, starting with Darcy’s opposite-field homer to right, driving in Hager. Grier later drove in Cail on a sac fly before French singled home Cross Jumper. Burris closed out the night with his three-run homer to right, plating French and Hunter Thomas.
Finan and Armstrong then pitched a pair of shutout frames in the eighth and ninth, closing out the win.
A-State continues its season-opening series against UAPB Saturday at Tomlinson Stadium-Kell Field, with first pitch slated for 3 p.m. The radio broadcast can be heard on KBTM 102.1/1230 AM.