- The UALR offense put up seven runs on 12 hits while starter Chance Cleveland (8-3) picked up his
eighth win of the season after giving up just two runs on seven hits over 7.2
innings, as UALR (21-20, 8-11 SBC) topped visiting Louisiana (19-22, 7-12 SBC)
by a 7-2 score at Gary Hogan Field on Friday. The game one win was the first
UALR victory against a UL team since 2006 and snaps a 16-game losing streak to
Bentley led the UALR bats with a 4-for-5 effort at the plate. Senior Sean Bignall and junior Myles Parma each finished the night
with two hits apiece. Sophomore Kaleb
Jobe also finished the night with two hits, the first of which was a grand
slam home run in the bottom of the second that gave the Trojans a 4-1
advantage. Bignall and junior Blake
Johnson led UALR with two runs scored each.
Cleveland struck out nine batters in his 7.2 innings on
the hill. The Pine Bluff, Ark., native entered the contest leading the Sun Belt
Conference in strikeouts and tied for the league lead in wins. Cleveland didn't
issue a free base to a Louisiana hitter until the top of the eighth inning when
he hit the Cajuns' Brian Bowman with a pitch.
Ragin' Cajun starter Jordan Nicholson was saddled with
the loss after giving up five runs on nine hits over 4.3 innings. Nicholson was
pulled for reliever Cord Cockrell with two outs on the board in the fifth.
Cockrell wen to finish the game for UL, giving up two runs on three hits over
the final 3.1 frames.
The Cajuns took an early lead in their first set of at
bats, putting up a run on three hits in the top of the first. A one-out infield
single by Jace Conrad was followed with another single to left by Chase
Compton. With runners at the corners, Cleveland was able to get the next
batter, Dylan Butler, out on strikes. But Tyler Girouard managed a two-out
single to right in the next at bat, scoring Conrad from third and giving the
Cajuns a 1-0 edge.
UALR went scoreless in its first set of at bats, but
answered with four runs on two hits, one of which being Jobe's grand slam to
right center, in the bottom of the second. Johnson led off the frame with a
single up the middle, while Parma drew a walk and Burk was hit by a pitch to
load the bases with no outs for the Trojans. Nicholson was able to get Thionnet
looking for the first out of the inning, but served up the four-run bomb to
Jobe in the very next at bat to make it a 4-1 contest.
UALR went up 5-1 on an RBI single by junior Chris Burk in the bottom of the fifth.
Bignall led off the frame with a single up the middle, and then advanced over
to third on a ground out by senior Nick
Rountree and a single by Parma. Burk's RBI base knock to left center scored
Bignall from third and chased Nicolson from the game, as Cockrell came on to
record the final out of the frame.
Cleveland worked himself out a jam in the top of the
seventh after allowing a leadoff double to Girouard to start the frame. A
groundout by Frederick advanced Girouard to third, giving the Cajuns a man 90
feet from home with just one out on the board. Cleveland was able to get the
next batter, Leonards, to hit a dribbler back to the mound for the inning's
second out, and got Chris Sinclair out on strikes to get out of the inning
The UALR bats tacked on two more runs in the bottom
half of the seventh, as a pair of singles and a walk allowed the Trojans to
load the bases with one out. A wild pitch by Cockrell brought in Bignall, who
singled to start the inning, for the frame's first run. Johnson then scored on
a fielder's choice RBI off the bat of sophomore Bryson Thionnet to make it a 7-1 contest.
UL manufactured a run on a hit batsman, two drawn
walks, a wild pitch and a passed ball in the top of the eighth, but reliever Andrew Hohn was able to get the Trojans
out of the jam with no further damage. Hohn struck out Girouard for the inning's
final out with a pair of Cajun baserunners at second and third.
Junior Bubba Cooper came on for Hohn to start the ninth
and allowed no runs on no hits over the final frame to close out the contest.
Game two is set for 4 p.m. on Saturday at Gary Hogan
Field, with junior Blake Huffman (4-3) getting the start for the Trojans and
Chris Griffit (5-2) starting for Louisiana.