LAFAYETTE, La. - Eighth-seeded Arkansas State used the middle innings to jump on fifth-seeded WKU and never relented as the Red Wolves defeated the Toppers, 10-4, in the first elimination game of the 2013 Sun Belt Conference Baseball Tournament.
Arkansas State scored four runs in the fourth, two in the fifth and added three more in the sixth. With the win the Red Wolves (27-30) moves on to face the loser of Thursday's game between top-seeded Troy and fourth-seeded Florida Atlantic.
The loss for the Hilltopper (28-29) knocks WKU out of the tournament.
ASU led the game 1-0 after Logan Uxa reached on a bunt single and advanced to second on a throwing error by WKU pitcher Andrew Edwards. Uxa would then score following a Colin Massanelli walk as Alex Potts would single off of Edwards' glove allowing Uxa to score from second.
The Red Wolves began to pile on the runs in the middle innings. In the bottom of the fourth, ASU put up four runs to jump out to a 5-0 lead on the Tops. ASU's Ryan Roberts singled to right center, Uxa thenw walked advancing Roberts to second. Derek Birgnineske reached on a fielder's choice with Roberts being forced out at third. Uxa would score on a throwing error from Blake Crabtree.
Potts then reached on bunt single advancing Birgnineske to third. Potts and Birgnineske would score on Dustin Jones's single to left and Jones would also score as the left fieder mishandled the ball allowing Jones to go wire-to-wire on the base path resulting in a three-base, three-run error for the Tops.
The fifth-inning saw more of the same for the Red Wolves as they plated two more in the fifth frame. Ryan Emery led off the inning with a walk and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Stuart Levy. Uxa walked following a Roberts strike out and Birgnineske tripled to right field scoring Emery and Uxa pushing the Red Wolves lead to 7-0.
WKU finally got on the board in the top of the sixth as an RBI groundout from Scott Wilcox scored Crabtree from third. Crabtree walked to lead off the inning and advanced to second on a single by Trevor Lowe. A wild pitch advanced both runners to second and third before Wilcox's groundout scored Crabtree.
ASU added three more runs in the bottom of the sixth as Potts led off the inning with a hit-by-pitch from Austin Clay who entered the game in the fifth inning. Jones then added a successful hit and run advancing Potts to third on Jones' single. Leadoff hitter, Kevin Fitzpatrick, singled up the middle scoring Potts and moving Jones to third.
Jones would be thrown out at home as he tried to score on Emery's single to first base. Roberts singled to left scoring Fitzpatrick and advancing Emery to second. A passed ball moved the runners up a base bringing up Uxa who singled to right field scoring Fitzpatrick. Roberts tried to score but was gunned down from right field as he made the turn to home.
The Toppers threatened in the top of the seventh as WKU plated three runs to trim ASU's lead to six runs at 10-4. WKU loaded the bases with one out in the inning and scored a run on Crabtree's single. Lowe struck out and Steve Hodgkins singled scoring runners from second and third. Wilcox grounded out to end the inning and WKU threat.
ASU's Bradley Wallace earned the win improving to 5-2 on the season. Edwards (6-4) picked up the loss for the Tops.