LITTLE ROCK – Despite falling behind by six runs UALR was able to come back and score a 7-6 victory over Louisiana Tech at Gary Hogan Field.
Stephen Chandler picked up his first career win by pitching three innings allowing a run to hold the Bulldogs (10-24) down while the Trojans (14-20) played their way back into the game.
Ben Crumpton got off to a slow start, but came on with two hits late including an eighth-inning double that drove in the game-tying and game-winning runs.
Louisiana Tech took a 1-0 lead in the second inning with back-to-back doubles off of Chad Bradford.
Bradford got the first two batters of the fourth out before running into some trouble. The sophomore awarded back-to-back walks before Taylor Burch singled to drive in a run. A hit batter loaded the bases and a third walk by Bradford brought in the Bulldog’s third and forced UALR to go to the bullpen.
Jesse Harbin came to the mound and allowed a single that just got passed a sliding Hayden Martin, which allowed two more runs to score and make it 5-0. Harbin was able to get a strikeout and end the inning against the next batter.
Bradford finished the game with 3.2 innings pitch allowing five runs on four hits while walking four and hitting one. Harbin pitched a perfect fifth to finish with 1.1 innings allowing one hit and striking out one.
The Trojans threatened with runners on the corners and one out, but Ryan Scott got thrown out trying to score on Martin’s fielder’s choice and the inning ended without a run.
Chandler came in to pitch the sixth and allowed Louisiana Tech's sixth run on two hits and walked two before shutting the Bulldogs down in the seventh and eighth.
UALR got off to another promising start in the sixth as Austin Pfeiffer single to lead off the inning. Tanner Rockwell, then, doubled to right field and Justin Steelmon drew a walk to load the bases with no outs. Bryson Thionnet drove in the Trojans’ first run with a sacrifice fly to center, which cut the Bulldogs’ lead to five at 6-1. Scott drew the team’s second walk of the inning to once again load the bases.
After a pitching change, Drew Merten stepped to the plate and singled into center. Rockwell and Steelmon came around to score, but the Bulldogs caught Scott too far off second and retired him on the play. However, UALR scored three runs on three hits in the inning.
UALR drew a run closer in the seventh when Crumpton singled to center, stole second, then stole third before scoring on a sacrifice bunt by Rockwell.
The Trojans’ game-winning rally started innocently as Thionnet flew out and Scott legged out an infield single. But Merten doubled to put runners on second and third to kick the rally up a gear. Louisiana Tech uncorked a wild pitch that allowed a run to score while walking Sam Vogel.
That’s when Crumpton came up with his late-game heroics. With runners on the corners in a 6-5 game Crumpton doubled down the right field line to drive in Merten and Vogel and give the Trojans a 7-6 lead.
Ethan Schlechte and Rockwell combined to get the final three outs of the game to close out the win and end the team’s four-game losing streak.
Crumpton was instrumental in the Trojans’ comeback with two hits, two RBI’s and two stolen bases. Merten also collected two hits and two RBI’s. Scott was 2-for-2 with a walk and a sacrifice bunt in the game. Pfeiffer and Rockwell had the team’s other two hits.
Crumpton’s two stolen bases moved him into a tie for third on the school’s single season steals list.
UALR will welcome the other Trojans of the Sun Belt when Troy visits Gary Hogan Field. Game one of the series will start at 6:00 p.m. on Friday with game two starting at 4:00 p.m. Saturday. The series will wrap up on Sunday with first pitch at 1:00 p.m.