By Rob Nelson
Finally playing at home, the Arkansas State Red Wolves took a weekend series from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers 3-1.
The Red Wolves, with three early losses by 1 run, came into the series with a 4-4 start, including a pair of victories over Saint Louis.
The Red Wolves put on an offensive clinic in the first three games, scoring 28 runs to Milwaukee’s eight, and 10 players with RBI hits. Ty White had a stellar weekend, with five RBIs and a two-run homer in Saturday’s game one that sealed the deal for the team’s second win.
To go with a save, Tanner Ring had his second home run of the season in the home opener, and three RBIs for the weekend.
Pitchers Tyler Zuber, Peyton Culbertson, and Adam Grantham each picked up their first victories of the season and Ring earned his second save on the year. Though it was in a loss, Bryan Ayers had six strikeouts but was plagued by wildness in his four innings on Sunday.
“If you look at the four game set I thought that Tyler Zuber, Cody Jackson and Grantham all settled in well,’’ said Raffo. “Ayers not as much, but today they just outplayed us.”
Raffo played a lot of players in the long weekend series, including junior catcher Frankie Alvarez, who had his first hits of the season for three RBIs.
“Frankie and (Daltan Lovell,) our two catchers have done a good job … when you have to catch 36 innings in three days, that’s a lot of work for both catchers,’’ said Raffo. “Thankfully, we don’t have any doubleheaders left in the season.”
Though they missed the sweep, losing the series finale 9-2, Raffo saw the weekend as a positive. The Red Wolves won the first three games 13-3, 7-4 and 8-1.
“Any time you can go 3-1 for a weekend, that’s a positive weekend,’’ said Raffo, whose team won the first three games. “We had the opportunity to sweep, but they came out and they just played better ball today.”
The weekend improved A-State’s record to 7-5, with two home games left before playing seven of their next eight on the road, including the first two Sun Belt Conference series. They have Austin Peay at home Tuesday and Wednesday before the SBC opener at Texas-Arlington on Friday.
“Every game’s important,’’ he said. “It doesn’t matter what you play, you play to win. That’s the mindset you want to have, obviously conference games are a fun part of the season, but any way you tee it up you play to win.”