LITTLE ROCK – Adam Champion and Travis Henke combined for 15 strikeouts as the UALR baseball team (1-0) opened the 2010 season with a 5-0 shutout of Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Gary Hogan Field. Champion (1-0) got the start on Opening Day and responded with seven strikeouts over 5.1 shutout frames, and Henke closed out the victory by fanning eight batters while scattering one hit over the final 3.2 innings.
“We’re glad to get a win today, but we know we have to swing the bat better. I think a lot of it was opening day jitters, and hopefully the guys were able to get it out of their systems,” said head coach Scott Norwood. “Adam pitched okay today, but we have really high expectations for him. I thought Henke was really good today. We look for some great things out of him this season.”
UAPB’s Esteban Rodriguez (0-1) blanked the Trojans for the first four innings, but ran into trouble in the fifth after loading the bases with two outs on the board after hitting three-straight batters. With the bags full and two outs on the board, UAPB’s Mark Scott dropped a fly ball from senior Landis Wilson which cleared the bases and put UALR on top 3-0.
Champion allowed three hits and four walks over 5.1 innings, and got a lift from his defense in the fourth when the Trojans nailed a Golden Lion base runner at the plate 1-3-6-2 on a double steal to end the inning.
Henke came on in relief of Champion in the sixth inning with one on and one out, and worked himself into a jam after loading the bases with back-to-back walks. The Jefferson City, Mo.-native buckled down, however, and struck out the next two batters he faced to preserve the shutout. Henke went on to strike out the side in the top of the eighth, and allowed just one hit and two walks to pick up his first save.
The Trojans tacked on two insurance runs in the bottom off the eighth after junior Brock Feldmann set the table with a leadoff double. Feldmann moved up to third on a wild pitch and came around to score on a double steal to give UALR a 4-0 lead. Junior Jake Rowell brought the game to its 5-0 finale when he pushed across junior Casey McCollum with a RBI double to left a few batters later.
Feldmann went 2-for-3 at the plate with a run scored to lead the Trojan offense, while Trey Austin paced the Golden Lions with a 2-for-4 afternoon. Rodriguez took the loss for UAPB after allowing three unearned runs, two walks and just two hits over 5.0 innings.
UALR returns to action Saturday afternoon when it takes on Saint Louis at 1 p.m.