RUSTON, La. – The Trojans hit the road for the first time this season with a trip to Louisiana Tech and behind a nine-run seventh came away with an 11-2 win.
Chad Bradford (1-0) took the start for UALR (6-2) and once again provided a solid outing in earning his first win of the season. The sophomore pitched 6.2 innings with four strikeouts and allowed just three hits and two walks. Bradford’s command of the strike zone was magnified as the Trojans’ offense drew 11 walks in the game against the Bulldogs (2-5).
The UALR offense threatened in each of the first three innings by drawing four walks and being hit by two pitches to go along with Bryson Thionnet’s double, but failed to score. However, the Trojans finally broke through in the fourth. Drew Merten started it with a single before Hayden Martin advanced him with a groundout. Ben Crumpton then reached on a throwing error by the shortstop, which also allowed Merten to come around to score the game’s first run.
With one out in the fifth Austin Pfeiffer doubled to left center and came around to score on Mitchell Scheuler’s RBI single to give UALR a 2-0 lead. After going down in order for the first time in the sixth the Trojans made up for it in the seventh with a huge outburst.
Tanner Rockwell led off with a walk Justin Steelmon followed with a single before Pfeiffer walked to load the bases. Scheuler, Thionnet and Merten drew three more consecutive walks to score Rockwell, Steelmon and Pfeiffer to make it 5-0. Martin broke the streak of walks with an RBI groundout before Crumpton and Ryan Scott drew two more walks to bring in the team’s fifth run of the inning.
Rockwell, who started the rally, then singled to drive in Merten and Crumpton. Steelmon followed with a hit of his own before Pfeiffer reached on an error to once again load the bases. Scheuler finished off the scoring in the seventh with a two-RBI single. The Trojans sent 14 batters to the plate and scored nine runs to finish the inning with an 11-0 lead.
Bradford cruised through the first 2.2 innings before allowing a two-out hit and walk before getting Taylor Love to fly out and work out of his only jam. Love’s flyout began a streak of nine straight batters retired by the Trojans’ right-hander. Dillon Moritz came on to get the final out of the seventh with the bases empty. Sam Thoele made his UALR debut and pitched a perfect eighth inning before Josh Merrill came on in the ninth. The junior gave up two run—one earned—before Stephen Chandler came on to get the final two outs
Scheuler led the offense going 2-for-3 with four RBIs and two walks. Steelmon added two hit and scored twice. Rockwell went 1-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Pfeiffer and Thionnet each added a double and a walk as Merten scored twice and had one of the team’s eight hits.
UALR will be back in action at Gary Hogan Field this weekend as they host a round-robin event with IPFW, Missouri and Illinois-Chicago. The Trojans will play UIC on Friday at 4:00 p.m., IPFW at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday and wrap up the weekend against Missouri on Sunday at 1:00 p.m.