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Blue Raiders' rally falls short at Arkansas State

Lawrence drives in a pair in suspended game

April 27, 2013 · @MTAthletics

JONESBORO, Ark. - The Blue Raider baseball team's eighth-inning rally came up short in a 4-3 loss at Arkansas State on Saturday afternoon.

After the game was suspended on Friday due to inclement weather, it resumed with one out and the bases loaded for the Red Wolves in the bottom of the second. MT starter Johnathan Frebis (5-5) was light's out in the first inning, but had to battle Friday's rainy conditions in the next frame, hitting one and walking two to load the bases.

The two teams only played four minutes before another rain delay on Saturday, but ASU shortstop Dustin Jones made the most of it with a bases-clearing triple. Jones then scored on a groundout to give ASU a 4-0 lead after two.

That was all the Red Wolves would need, as Frebis took the loss in four innings of work. He allowed just three hits and struck out six in giving up the four runs, all earned.

Jordan Cooper entered for the Blue Raiders in the fifth and retired seven of the first eight batters he faced. He allowed just two hits over four shutout innings to keep the Red Wolves within striking distance.

The Blue Raiders struck in the sixth, as third baseman Robert Lawrence drove in shortstop Ryan Ford on a fielder's choice to make it a 4-1 contest.

The duo again combined for MT's second run in the eighth, this time with Lawrence scoring Ford on a RBI-single. It was Ford's leadoff double that sparked five straight hits and first baseman Trent Miller's base-knock that brought MT within a run at 4-3. With Lawrence at first and Miller at second, centerfielder Ryan Stephens tapped a slow roller to short for an infield single, loading the bases with no outs, but ASU reliever John Koch fanned the next three batters to preserve the one-run lead for the Red Wolves.

Koch gave up a hit in the ninth before picking up his fifth save of the season. Starter Daniel Wright (5-3) earned the win for the Red Wolves, going seven innings and allowing three runs on four hits while striking out seven.

Ford and second baseman Johnny Thomas each went 2-for-4 on the day for MT, with Ford scoring a pair and Thomas accounting for the other run. Lawrence was 1-for-4 with two RBI, while Miller was 1-for-3 with an RBI.

The two teams will play a doubleheader on Sunday beginning at 11 a.m. The second game will begin approximately 30 minutes following the conclusion of the first.

HEAD COACH JIM MCGUIRE
On the game...
"I knew (Daniel) Wright would be back out there because he threw very few pitches. (Johnathan) Frebis was in trouble last night with the hit batter and the walks, so it was on our mind what to do with him. He just had one bad pitch, and they made us pay with the triple. That's the difference in the game. It was tough for Frebis. He battled and got us through four innings. We only had to use two pitchers, and that's unusual. But after that one bad pitch, I thought both pitchers threw very well."

On Jordan Cooper...
"He has been tough on Arkansas State. He threw well against them at our place last year. He had another good day today. He had it working from the beginning. I'm proud of him coming in in that situation, with the rain and being behind. He managed the game and he gave us a chance. He put us in a position to win, and we just didn't get it done."

On John Koch coming in and giving up three hits then striking out three...
"He was not very sharp when he came in, and we took advantage of it. Then he got comfortable with his breaking ball and got going. We've really struggled with the breaking ball, and he exposed us. We had a chance to take the lead and really open the game up, and we just couldn't do it."

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