CORVALLIS, Ore. - The UALR baseball team (24-34) saw its historical season come to an end with a 7-3 loss to the Georgia Bulldogs (32-31) at the NCAA Corvallis Regional on Saturday. Georgia leadoff hitter Levi Hyams went 4-for-5 with three runs scored and a solo homer, and starting pitcher Alex Wood (6-7) struck out eight batters over 8.0 innings to lead the Bulldogs to victory.
Brett DeLoach belted a three-run homer in the top of the fifth to help Georgia take a 5-0 lead, but the Trojans scored three runs in the bottom half to make it a 5-3 ballgame. The Bulldogs answered with a pair of insurance runs in the sixth to go ahead 7-3, and held the Trojans to just two hits over the final four innings.
Wood opened the game with four shutout frames and got the win after limiting the Trojans to three runs off nine hits over 8.0 innings. The left-hander racked up eight strikeouts against just one walk before giving way to Chase Hawkins at the start of the ninth. Hawkins worked a perfect ninth to close out the victory.
Senior Jason Houston capped off the program's first NCAA Regional appearance by going 3-for-4 with a team-high two RBI. The three hits pushed his season total to 75, which ties him with Chris Julo (2003) for sixth place on the school's all-time single-season list. Juniors Greg Garcia and Cameron Bentley added two hits apiece, while sophomore Myles Parma went 1-for-4 at the plate to end the year with a 12-game hit streak - the longest by a Trojan this season.
UALR starter Calvin Drinnen (6-7) was tagged with the loss after allowing six hits and six runs over 5.1 innings. Junior Nick Grimmett closed out the game by holding the Bulldogs to three hits over 3.1 shutout innings.
Georgia opened the game with a bang as Hyams blasted a solo homer high off the scoreboard in right center. The Bulldogs threatened to add to their lead as Drinnen loaded the bases with two walks and a hit batter, but the Haysville, Kan.-native got Curt Powell to ground out to third to end the inning and leave the bags full.
Drinnen worked his way out of a jam in the second inning as well to keep the Trojans within a run. Georgia put runners on second and third as Brandon Stephens walked and Hyams singled through the left side, but Drinnen struck out Conor Welton and got a ground ball out from Kyle Farmer to strand the runners.
Drinnen retired eight-consecutive batters after surrendering a single to Hyams in the second, sitting down the Bulldogs in-order in the third and fourth innings, but wasn't as fortunate in the fifth. Hyams opened the frame with his third hit of the day, and scored from third three batters later on a RBI single to left by Zach Cone. DeLoach followed with a three-run homer to right in the next at-bat to give Georgia a 5-0 lead.
After four shutout frames, the Trojans finally got to Wood in the bottom of the fifth, scoring three runs off four-straight singles with two outs on the board. Wood retired the first two batters he faced in the fifth, but Bentley and Garcia sparked the rally with back-to-back singles. Parma followed with a run-scoring single up the middle to put the Trojans on the board, and Houston plated a pair of runs with a two-RBI single to center to make it a 5-3 contest.
With its lead cut to two, Georgia manufactured a pair of runs in the top of the sixth thanks to a pair of Trojan miscues, using a wild pitch and a Trojan error to score two runners from third. Peter Verdin hit a one-out double to get things going for Georgia and chase Drinnen from the game. The Trojans brought on senior Ryan Juris, who surrendered a double to shallow center by Hyams to put runners on second and third with one out. Juris fanned Welton for the second out, but allowed Verdin to score from third on a wild pitch. The Trojans called on Grimmett after Juris walked Farmer, but a botched pickoff attempt to first permitted Hyams to cross home and make it a 7-3 ballgame.
The Trojans were unable to cut into Georgia's lead over the final four frames, as a double by junior Hector Acosta in the sixth and a single by Houston in the ninth marked UALR's only base runners down the stretch. Houston led off the eighth with a single and moved up to second with a stolen base, but Wood retired the next three Trojans to end the inning off a fly out and back-to-back strikeouts. Hawkins then retired the Trojans in-order in the ninth to seal off the win.