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Wolves squander lead, then prevail

by Eli Lederman | May 26, 2021 at 4:00 a.m.

An inning after Arkansas State University squandered the last run of a 6-0 lead, Sky-Lar Culver sent the Red Wolves back in front for good with a three-run double in the top of the ninth to secure a victory in Pool D of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament on Tuesday.

Culver drove in four at Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery, Ala., as the West Division No. 5 seed Red Wolves (19-29, 11-14 Sun Belt) slugged four home runs in a 9-6 victory over Troy, their first in the conference tournament since 2017. Drew Tipton notched three hits and scored twice, and home runs from Culver, Jared Toler, Garrett Olson and Liam Hicks powered ASU past East Division No. 3 seed Troy (27-24, 13-12).

Kollin Stone (1-2) allowed one run in 2 1/3 innings of relief.

Sun Belt RBI leader Tyler Duncan doubled to score Tipton in the first inning, handing ASU a 1-0 lead. Toler and Olson hit back-to-back home runs and Hicks another in the second, and Culver's third-inning home run put the Red Wolves ahead 6-0.

Troy began chipping away with two runs in the bottom of the third, and scored two more on ASU right-hander Carter Holt before he exited after 4 1/3 innings (4 runs, 2 strikeouts). A Troy run off reliever Jack Jumper in the seventh and another off of Stone in the eighth knotted the game at 6-6.

Ben Klutts' one-out single in the ninth was followed by a Duncan double. After Troy intentionally walked Jaylon Deshazier, Culver hit his gapper to right center to thrust the Red Wolves ahead again.

The Red Wolves can advance to Saturday's semifinal with a win over West Division No. 2 seed Texas-Arlington at 3 p.m. Thursday.

COASTAL CAROLINA 15, UALR 1 (7)

Earlier in the day, West Division No. 4 seed University of Arkansas at Little Rock (21-29, 11-14) was run-ruled after seven innings against East Division No. 6 seed Coastal Carolina (27-23, 10-12). Sun Belt pitcher of the year Hayden Arnold and lead reliever Aaron Barkley combined to allow 11 runs for UALR.

UALR will meet East Division No. 1 seed South Alabama at 11 a.m. Thursday in Pool A without a path to advance to the semifinals, based on tiebreakers.

UALR committed three errors and mustered only four hits Tuesday. Arnold (7-4) allowed 5 runs (3 earned) in 3 innings, and Barkley suffered his worst outing of the season by giving up 6 runs (2 earned ) over 1 inning.

Coastal Carolina's Shaddon Peavyhouse (3-2) earned the win.

The Chanticleers scored in every inning but the first, including four runs off Barkley in the fourth. John Michael Russ drove in UALR's lone run with a sacrifice fly that scored Miguel Soto in the bottom of the frame.

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