LITTLE ROCK – Jason Houston and Tyler Cameron drove in four runs apiece Tuesday night to lead the UALR baseball team (7-1) to a 15-4 win over Eastern Michigan (2-5) at Gary Hogan Field. At 7-1, the Trojans are off to their best start since the 1992 season.
UALR exploded for 10 runs in the third inning and junior starter Ryan Juris gave the Trojans a solid 6.1 innings to improve to 2-0 on the year.
“We got a good pitching performance tonight and our bats got hot,” said UALR head coach Scott Norwood. “I thought we played a pretty complete game tonight. Now we just need to come out and try to repeat that tomorrow.”
Juris blanked EMU for the first four frames on Tuesday and twice forced the Eagles to strand a runner at third. He allowed nine hits, three runs and three walks to the Eagles, with six strikeouts over 6.1 innings to pick up his team-leading second victory. Senior Sean Potter worked the final 2.2 frames for UALR, holding the Eagles to two hits and a run, with three strikeouts.
Houston went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and four RBI, and belted his third home run of the year in the third inning – a two-run shot to center. Cameron enjoyed a 2-for-5 day at the plate, finishing with two runs scored and four RBI, thanks in large part to a bases-clearing, three-run triple in the seventh.
UALR took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second after loading the bases with no outs off back-to-back singles by juniors Cody Gilles and Casey McCollum, and a bunt single by junior Jake Rowell. EMU starting pitcher Collin Taylor was able to get a double play out of the next batter he faced, but Gilles scored from third to give UALR the early 1-0 lead.
Leading 1-0, the Trojans erupted for 10 runs in the third after a fielding error on a potential inning-ending double play ball extended the frame. Senior Landis Wilson and junior Tommie Johnson each delivered two-run doubles during the 10-run rally, with Houston adding a two-run homer to center.
Johnson got things going with a leadoff single, and quickly worked his way over to third off a stolen base and a ground out. Houston plated Johnson with a run-scoring single up the middle to extend UALR’s lead to 2-0.
Senior Tyson Parks followed up Houston’s single with a walk to put two runners on base with one out, and the Eagles looked to be on the verge of escaping the frame without further damage when Taylor induced a potential double-play ball from the next batter. EMU’s second baseman was unable to field the ball cleanly, however, opening the flood gates as the Trojans put up a 10 spot by banging out seven hits in the inning.
Juris blanked the Eagles for the first four frames before EMU pushed across three runs in the fifth to make it an 11-3 contest. Wally Gerbus sparked the EMU offense with a leadoff double, and Matt Skirving put the Eagles on the board moments later with a run-scoring double. EMU tacked on two more runs compliments of a RBI sacrifice fly by Todd Graves and a two-out RBI base knock by Zack Leonard.
Leading 11-3, the Trojans pushed across four more runs in the bottom of the seventh to go on top 15-3. Cameron did most of the damage for UALR with a bases-clearing, three-run triple down the right field line. Houston capped off the scoring when he plated Cameron with a sacrifice fly to right.
EMU closed out the night’s scoring in the top of the ninth with a RBI single up the middle by John Carrier, to bring the game to its 15-4 finale.
Taylor (1-1) took the loss after allowing seven hits, three walks and eight runs (only two of which were earned) over 2.2 innings of work. Skirving and Leonard led the Eagles with two hits apiece in the loss.
The two teams return to action tomorrow afternoon at 3 p.m.