LITTLE ROCK – The Trojans returned home and got back into their winning ways with a 9-3 win over UAPB at Gary Hogan Field. The UALR seniors sparked the team to victory on the mound and at the plate.
It was the first of ten games against in-state teams this season with the next three coming at Arkansas State. The win moves Scott Norwood to 18-17 against opponents from the state of Arkansas.
Senior Ethan Schlechte got the start but was only used for three innings so he would be ready for the big series in Jonesboro. The senior gave the UALR coaching staff just what they wanted. Schlechte went 3.0 innings striking out five and didn’t allow a hit.
The Trojans offense, which struggled last weekend at Ole Miss, didn’t wait at all to score. Senior Ben Crumpton led off with a single to right center then another senior, Austin Pfeiffer, drove a double off the wall in left field which allowed Crumpton to score from first. Tanner Rockwell followed with a double of his own to score Pfeiffer before coming around to score on senior Bryson Thionnet’s double to left center. After the first inning UALR held a 3-0 lead.
In the third inning the Trojans got a leadoff single from Thionnet. Sam Vogel stepped to the plate and homered to right field to make it 5-0.
The Golden Lions threatened in the fourth against Jake Busiek getting their first two batters to reach base. However, a double play and a groundout back to Busiek allowed the Trojans to get out of the inning without a run.
UALR added to its lead in the fourth as Pfeiffer got a single before stealing second. The senior advanced to third on a balk and came around to score on an RBI groundout from Justin Steelmon.
UAPB came back drawing two walks off Busiek before Dyllon Brownmiller came on in relief. Brownmiller got the first batter to groundout to Pfeiffer at shortstop, but then allowed a single to Rashawn Tillman to drive in two runs and make it 6-2 before UALR could get out of the inning.
The Golden Lions pulled within three when they added a run in the seventh off of Garrett Sherrell. The freshman making his collegiate debut walked the first batter he faced and it came back to hurt him when the runner scored on a single by Mitch Bruckshaw.
The Trojans played add on in the bottom of the eighth to add some room for the bullpen. Crumpton and Pfeiffer drew walks before Rockwells double to deep right center brought them both in to make it 8-2. Hayden Martin came in to pinch run for Rockwell and came around to score on Thionnet’s RBI groundout to give UALR a 9-3 headed to the ninth.
Busiek pitched 1.0 innings allowing two runs on one hit and three walks. Brownmiller worked an inning striking out one and allowing one hit. Sherrell struck out two in an inning of work allowing a run on one hit. In a three-run game, senior Chase Rousseau went right through the middle of the Golden Lions lineup to work a perfect eighth. Brent Mason got the first two out of the ninth inning inducing a fly out and striking out a batter. Finally, senior Dillon Moritz sealed the game by getting a groundout to second to end the game.
The UALR offense tacked up 13 hits on the way to scoring nine times. The team was led by its seniors at the plate. Crumpton went 2-for-3 with two walks, two stolen bases and two runs scored. He is now at 57 career steals, just six away from tying Miguel Miranda’s school record. Pfeiffer went 3-for-4 with three runs scored and an RBI double. Thionnet had three hits, two doubles, to go with two RBIs and a runs scored. Rockwell continues to lead the team at driving runs in with three more today to get to 16 on the season, also added two doubles. Joseph Paulino collected his first career hit and Drew Merten added the team’s final hit.
UALR will be back on the road this weekend at Arkansas State to open Sun Belt Conference play. The series will start Friday at 6:00 p.m. with game two on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. and the series finale at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday.