UALR TROJANS (10-7)
RED WOLVES (11-6)
With 17 games in the book, the UALR baseball team (10-7) welcomes in-state rival Arkansas State (11-6) to Gary Hogan Field for the first weekend of Sun Belt Conference action... Both teams come into the weekend sporting similar records, setting up a slate of highly-anticipated games between the two adversaries.
RECAPPING LAST WEEK
After a hot start to the 2013 regular season, the Trojans cooled off a bit, going 2-4 in their last six contests...UALR played host to a two game midweek series March 5 and 6 against Southeast Missouri, winning the first game on Tuesday and dropping the second contest on Wednesday...On Tuesday, freshman Chad Bradford recorded his first career win, while junior Ben Crumpton logged three hits in UALR's 3-2 win over the Redhawks... In 5.2 innings of work, Bradford blanked the Redhawks through the first five frames, while not allowing a hit until the third inning...Senior Tyler Buckley picked up his first save of the season, fanning the only batter he faced... In game two, UALR fell to Southeast Missouri by a score of 4-3... The loss wrapped up a 13-game home stand for the Trojans, who won seven of their last nine games during that stint... Over the weekend, UALR took part in the Austin Peay Riverview Inn Classic, joining Austin Peay, UW Milwaukee, and Creighton as participants in the tournament... On Friday, the Trojans fell to Creighton by a score of 4-2... Starting pitcher Chance Cleveland (2-2) was tagged with the loss, allowing three runs in 4.1 innings of work... Crumpton led the Trojans offensively, going 2-for-4 with one RBI... Senior Chris Burk enjoyed a 2-for-4 day at the plate with one run scored...Junior Chase Rousseau and senior Bubba Cooper combined to pitch the final 3.2 innings for UALR, shutting out Creighton the remainder of the game and yielding only one hit... UALR dropped the second game of the weekend the following afternoon, losing to UW Milwaukee, 10-7... Burk went 2-for-3 with four RBIs, while junior Bryson Thionnet added three hits, two runs scored, and one RBI of his own... Blake Huffman (2-2) allowed five hits and three earned runs in five innings of work... UALR sent seven pitchers to the mound on Saturday, as the UW Milwaukee offense proved to be relentless all afternoon... On Sunday, Austin Peay defeated UALR by a score of 8-4... Crumpton went 2-for-5 on the afternoon, extending his hitting streak to nine games... Seniors John Clark and Myles Parma both tacked on two hits apiece for UALR, while Thionnet enjoyed a 2-for-5 day at the plate with a pair of runs scored and three RBIs... UALR starting pitcher Ethan Schlechte recorded 3.1 innings of work, but yielded eight hits and six earned runs in his fourth outing of the season... Cooper pitched the final three innings for UALR and limited the Governors to just one hit during that span... Cooper struck out three of the nine batters he faced, while keeping Austin Peay off the scoreboard... On Tuesday, UALR garnered some much-needed momentum heading into the conference opener with a convincing 12-2 win over UT Arlington... Freshman Jesse Harbin picked up his first collegiate win, tossing 4.0 innings of relief out of the bullpen, while Austin Pfeiffer's 4-for-5 day at the plate led the Trojans.
ABOUT ARKANSAS STATE
The Red wolves are fresh off a split of a two-game midweek series against Missouri State... On the young season, Arkansas State is 9-3 at home in Jonesboro, compared to 2-3 on the road... In the field, Arkansas State is the best defensive team in the Sun Belt, leading the conference with a .984 fielding percentage...Offensively, the Red Wolves are led by All-Sun Belt Preseason selection, Logan Uxa... Through 17 games, Uxa is hitting a team-high .368 with 10 RBIs.
Arkansas State got the best of UALR last season, taking all six games from the Trojans en route to a 19-9 conference record... The Red Wolves outscored UALR 43-25 in those meetings, while their pitching staff held the Trojans to 4.1 runs per game... All-time, ASU holds a 61-39 advantage over UALR.
PLENTY OF PITCHING
The three games from Gary Hogan Field this weekend should showcase some of the best pitching the Sun Belt Conference has to offer... UALR's Chance Cleveland and Blake Huffman both rank in the top 10 in the Sun Belt in ERA... Cleveland ranks second in the conference with a 1.67 ERA, while Huffman ranks tenth with a 2.38 ERA... As a staff, UALR ranks third in the Sun Belt with a combined ERA of 3.28, while Arkansas State is right behind the Trojans with a 3.51 ERA... Individually, John Koch (27 K's) and Daniel Wright (24 K's) rank in the top five in strikeouts in the Sun Belt Conference... Cleveland ranks fourth on that list with 25 strikeouts on the season.
CRACKING THE TOP TEN
In his short time at UALR, Chance Cleveland is leaving his mark on the Trojan's record book... With his five strikeouts against Creighton last Friday, Cleveland now ranks tenth all-time in the career strikeout list at UALR... With five more strikeouts this weekend, Cleveland would move into ninth place all-time, passing Jim Webber who recorded 124 strikeouts from 1979-1983.
Junior Ben Crumpton is in the midst of a 10-game hitting streak, as well as a 16-game on base streak... Senior Chris Burk is enjoying a seven-game hitting streak of his own, while reaching base safely in 12 straight games... Junior Austin Pfeiffer is right behind the both of them, reaching base safely in 11 straight contests.
Crumpton in the lead-off spot and Pfeiffer batting second in the lineup has proven to be beneficial for UALR so far this season... Crumpton (.343 AVG, 22 R, 24 H) and Pfeiffer (.359 AVG, 16 R, 23 H) lead the Trojans in almost every statistical category, setting up the table for the middle of the Trojan's lineup.
BALANCE OF POWER
Six different players in UALR's lineup have accumulated at least 10 RBIs, led by Bryson Thionnet's 14... John Clark (12), Austin Pfeiffer (11), Blake Johnson (11), Ben Crumton (10), and Chris Burk (10) round out the list... Additionally, five Trojans are hitting over .300, led by Pfeiffer's .359 clip.