LITTLE ROCK -
The UALR baseball team (16-20) snapped its five-game losing streak with a 6-5 win over Central Arkansas on Tuesday night, in a game which was shortened to seven innings due to severe weather conditions at Gary Hogan Field. The win over UCA was the 350th victory of head coach Scott Norwood's
UALR scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth to rally from a 5-3 deficit, and held a 6-5 lead going into the eighth. The Bears pushed across the tying run in the top of the eighth on a run-scoring single by Zack Dickson to even things up at 6-all. With the game tied at 6-6 in the bottom of the eighth and Jake Rowell at the plate, play was stopped at 8:22 p.m. due to a tornado warning. After sitting through a rain and lightning delay, the game was eventually called with the final outcome reverting to the last completed inning - giving UALR a 6-5 win.
Junior Nick Rountree went 3-for-4 with three runs scored and two RBI to lead the way for UALR. Rountree hit his team-leading seventh home run of the season in the bottom of the first, a two-run shot to left to give the Trojans an early 2-1 lead.
Junior Nick Grimmett worked 2.0 innings in relief of starter Andrew Hohn, and limited UCA to three hits and a run over 2.0 innings to improve to 2-0 on the year. Junior Dillon Wilson came on in relief of Grimmett in the top of the seventh with a runner on base and one out, and induced a 4-6-3 inning-ending double play from the first batter he faced to pick up his first save of the year.
UCA starter Ethan McKinzie was solid in his first start of the season, limiting the Trojans to four hits and three runs over 5.0 innings of work. The Bears turned things over to the bullpen in the bottom of the sixth with a 5-3 lead, but UCA's relievers were unable to protect the lead.
Blake Payne took the mound in relief of McKinzie at the start of the sixth and allowed each of UALR's first three batters to reach base. Payne hit senior Jason Houston with a pitch to open the inning, before allowing a double to Rountree to put two runners on base with no outs.
Rowell and Casey McCollum came through with back-to-back RBI singles to tie things up at 5-all, the last of which came off reliever Andy Steinmetz. After giving up the RBI single to McCollum, Steinmetz managed to strike out the next Trojan he faced, but junior Niko Navarro singled to center field to plate Rowell for the deciding run.
The Bears took a 1-0 lead in the top of first on a solo homer to center by Jonathan Davis - his fourth of the year. UCA reclaimed the lead in the top of the second after surrendering Rountree's homer, by manufacturing more runs in the top of the second after loading the bases with no outs on a Trojan fielding error and back-to-back singles. Dickson was hit by a pitch to force across the first run of the inning, and Kyle Prevett delivered a run-scoring sacrifice fly to make it a 3-2 contest.
UCA extended its lead to two runs, 4-2, on a two-out, RBI triple by Logan Moon in the top of the fourth, and held the lead until the Trojans rallied for three runs in the bottom of the sixth.
Jordan Gatchell went 3-for-3 with a run scored to lead the Bears, while Moon added a 2-for-4, two-RBI performance. Payne (3-5) was saddled with the loss after allowing two hits and three runs without recording an out in the sixth.
UALR returns to action this weekend when it welcomes Florida International to Gary Hogan Field for a three-game set. Friday's series opener is slated for a 6 p.m. first pitch.