CORVALLIS, Ore. - The UALR baseball team held a 4-2 lead over No. 1-seed Oregon State (39-17) after five innings in its first-ever NCAA Regional appearance on Friday night, but the 15th-ranked Beavers rallied for a 7-4 victory at Goss Stadium. The Trojans (24-33) return to action tomorrow at 3 p.m. (CT) in an elimination game against No.3-seed Georgia.
UALR built a 4-2 lead after five innings by totaling five hits and four runs off OSU starter James Nygren, but the Oregon State bullpen closed out the game by holding UALR to just one hit over 4.1 shutout frames. Scott Schultz (4-0) got the win by striking out three Trojans over 1.1 innings in relief of Nygren, and Matt Boyd followed by allowing just one hit over 2.0 shutout frames. Reliever Tony Bryant finished off the win by working a perfect ninth to record his 11th save of the season.
Oregon State rallied for three runs in the bottom of the sixth to take its first lead of the night, sparked by a solo homer from Danny Hayes, and Garret Nash came off the bench to hit a two-run homer in the eighth to give OSU all the insurance runs it would need.
UALR starter Travis Henke went 5.2 innings and allowed seven hits, four runs and three walks in a no decision. Senior Garret Graziano (6-10) took the loss after allowing five hits and three runs over the final 2.1 innings.
OSU leadoff hitter Ryan Barnes set the tone for the Beavers by going 3-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBI. Junior Greg Garcia and senior Jason Houston led the Trojans with two hits apiece in the loss, with Garcia scoring a pair of runs and driving in one.
The UALR offense wasted little time generating runs in the program's first-ever NCAA Regional appearance, as the Trojans built a 2-0 lead in the top of the first after Garcia opened the game with a leadoff single. Garcia went all the way to third on a single to right by Houston, and scored the first run of the game on a sacrifice fly to left by junior Nick Rountree. Houston scored from first on the next at-bat as senior Jake Rowell doubled to the right field corner to make it a 2-0 ballgame.
Oregon State looked as if it would cut into UALR's lead in the bottom of the second as Henke was called for a balk with Ryan Dunn on third and two outs on the board. Head coach Scott Norwood appealed the call, however, and the umpires overturned the balk call after a short meeting. Dunn was sent back to third base, and Henke got Jake Rodriguez to line out to second to end the inning and strand the runner.
OSU threatened again in the bottom of fourth, but came away empty handed once again after loading the bases with one out. Henke issued a pair of walks around a single by Andrew Susac, but struck out Carter Bell and got Rodriguez to line out to second to leave the bags full and preserve the 2-0 lead.
UALR extended its lead to 4-0 in the top of the fifth by plating a pair of runs with two outs on the board. Garcia made it a 3-0 contest as his double over the right fielder's head scored senior Casey McCollum, and sophomore Myles Parma followed with a two-out, RBI single to center to push across Garcia. Parma's single, which chased Nygren from the game, extended his hit streak to 11 games - the longest by a Trojan this season.
Down by four, Oregon State opened the bottom of the fifth with a pair of big hits to cut its deficit to two runs. Brian Stamps led off the frame with a double to left center, and scored on the next play as Ryan Barnes tripled past a diving Hector Acosta in right. Barnes scored on the next at-bat as Jared Norris grounded out to second to bring the Beavers within two, 4-2.
UALR looked like it might add to its lead in the bottom of the sixth, as the Trojans loaded the bases with two outs on the board off a pair of walks and a fielding error. After walking McCollum to load the bases, however, Scott Schultz struck out the next Trojan he faced to leave the bags full.
The missed opportunity proved costly for the Trojans, as Oregon State rallied for three runs in the bottom half to take its first lead of the game, 5-4. Henke retired the first batter of the inning, but Hayes opened the floodgates with a solo homer to left to bring the Beavers within a run. Bell followed with a double high off the wall in left, but Henke got Rodriguez to ground out to Houston for the second out. The Trojans brought on Graziano with a runner on second and two outs, but the Oklahoma City, Okla.-native walked the first batter he faced and then uncorked a pair of wild pitches - the last of which allowed Bell to score the tying run. Tied at 4-4, Barnes delivered a two-out, RBI double down the left field line to score Stamps and give OSU a 5-4 lead.
After a scoreless seventh, Nash gave the Beavers some breathing room in the bottom of the eighth as his two-run homer to right center put OSU ahead 7-4. Bryant came on to pitch in the top of the ninth and closed out the win by retiring the Trojans in-order.