Preview: Baseball Heads to UAB

The Arkansas State Red Wolves take their 5-4 record to Birmingham, Alabama to face the 8-1 UAB Blazers in a three game set this weekend. The Red Wolves hope to extend their two game winning streak while UAB is set on getting their hot start back on track.

A-State started strong sweeping Miami (OH) opening weekend. However, things turned sour soon after as the Red Wolves dropped a midweek game to UA-Monticello and the first three games of a four-game set to Illinois State.

The Red Wolves have since won two straight, taking game four against Illinois State and then getting a midweek win against Southeast Missouri State. The UAB Blazers opened the seasons with eight straight victories but lost their last game at Samford.

The two teams met last season in Jonesboro at Tomlinson/Kell Field. Arkansas State won 2 of 3 to win the series. However, this season is definitely looking at this series differently as last year UAB entered the series hovering around .500 while A-State was building on a hot start.

The Red Wolves faced UAB last season in their first series with Zach George who was injured the prior weekend. George has opened the season red hot at the plate with a .387 average and leading the team in runs scored with 13, walks with 10, and on base average of .545. George walks in 43 percent of his plate appearances and has a .429 average on balls in play and has produced 12.60 base runs.

George is 3 for 3 on steal attempts. However, teammate Austin Baker leads the team with five steals on five attempts. Arkansas State is off and running, with 13 steals on 14 attempts compared to 28 steals on 39 attempts all of last season. Ty Michelotti is also 3 for 3 on steal attempts.

A-State has found surprisingly strong production from Matt Burgess who leads the team with a .419 batting average, a home run, 14 RBI and a 1.068 OPS. Burgess is hitting .545 on balls in play and has produced 9.61 base runs. Eight batters with more than seven starts are hitting better than .300 on the year as the offense is hitting .309 and averaging just over 7.5 runs a game.

The Red Wolves are drawing walks in 30 percent of appearances while striking out in only 13 percent.

Pitching Match Ups

Game 1:
A-State sends Senior Bradley Wallace to the hill with a 1-1 record and a 3.60 ERA. Wallace had a great first start against Miami (OH) but had a not so great start against Illinois State. Wallace is tied for the team lead in strike outs with 10. Wallace is allowing a .263 opponent average with a 1.400 WHIP. His opponent will be Blazer Chase Mallard who is 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA and 22 strikeouts against two walks and an opponent average of .022 with a 0.35 WHIP.

Game 2:
Chandler Hawkins (1-1) is coming off a solid start for the Red Wolves against Illinois State and is tied for the team lead in strikeouts with 10. Hawkins has a 5.79 ERA, a 1.714 WHIP and is allowing a .316 opponent average. UAB's Johnny Lieske (1-0) will look to cool of the A-State bats with his 0.82 ERA, 1.55 WHIP and a .200 opponent average.

Game 3:
Red Wolf David Owen (2-0) pitches hoping to improve on his prior Sunday start in which he allowed two earned runs in his first start then allowed six in start number two on the season. Owen's ERA is 7.20 with a 1.80 WHIP while allowing opponents a .286 average. The Blazers will counter with Alex Luna (2-0) with a 0.90 ERA while allowing a .167 average.

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