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Courtesy: Matt Johnson
Sophomore Bryson Thionnet worked a perfect ninth inning to close out UL in the Trojans' 9-7 win on Sunday.
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Trojans Get First Series Win Against UL Since 2001 With 9-8 Victory On Sunday
UALR Sports Information
Release: 04/29/2012

LITTLE ROCK - UALR (22-21, 9-12 SBC) scored four runs over its final two sets of at bats to win a back-and-forth contest against Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns (20-23, 8-13 SBC) on Sunday at Gary Hogan Field by a final of 9-8. The game three victory gives the Trojans their first series win against the Cajuns since the 2001 season.

"Today was a big win for us," said head coach Scott Norwood. "It was a hard-fought win against a very good team. Our offense came through for us and Bryson (Thionnet) came on in relief and really pitched well over the final two innings to close things out."

Sophomore Bryson Thionnet earned his third save of the season after giving up no runs on just one hit and striking out two over the final 1.2 innings of the game. Thionnet came on to pitch with one man on and no outs in the top of the eighth. He gave up one hit, an RBI single by Brian Bowman, but got Jace Conrad to pop up to short to end the inning before pitching a perfect ninth and striking out the final two batters to end the game.

Sophomore Ethan Schlechte picked up the win for the Trojans to improve to 3-2 on the year. Schlechte gave up four runs on three hits in 1.1 innings of work, but came on in the top of the sixth with two men on and was able to get UL's Chris Sinclair to fly out to center for the final out of the frame.

Joe Zimmerman was handed the loss for UL. Zimmerman gave up three runs on four hits and was chased from the game following junior Chris Burk's two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh.

Senior Cameron Bentley was the only Trojans to finish the day with multiple hits. Bentley went 2-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored and hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the fourth to give UALR its second lead of the day. Burk went 1-for-4 with a homer, two RBI and two runs scored. Junior John Clark also scored two runs for the Trojans.

The Trojans were able to grab a quick 1-0 lead in the bottom half of the opening frame, marking the first time in the series UALR was able to get on the board first. Bentley led off the frame with a single to center and moved to second on a sac bunt by sophomore Ben Crumpton. A failed pickoff attempt allowed Bentley so slide over to third, and the Kansas City, Mo.-native came home on a sac fly off the bat of senior Nick Rountree to make it a 1-0 game.

UL went scoreless in its first two at bats, but Dylan Butler gave the Cajuns their first lead of the day with a two-run homer in the top of the third. UALR starting pitcher Cameron Allen was able to get the first two batters of the frame out on two pitches, but hit Conrad with a pitch to give UL a baserunner with two outs. The next batter, Dylan, was pulled a 2-0 pitch over the left field fence to give the Cajuns a 2-1 lead.

Louisiana pushed its lead to two in the top of the fourth, thanks in part to two hits and an error to start the inning. Rountree dropped an infield popup to allow the leadoff man, Frederick, to reach base. A single to right and a double to left by Bourque and Nichols, respectively, allowed Frederick and make the score 3-1 in favor of the Cajuns. The Trojans escaped the inning with no further damage thanks to an impressive 8-2-5 inning-ending triple play. Bentley fielded a Sinclair fly ball for the first out of the inning in center. Nichols, tagging at third, was thrown out and the plate for the second out. Catcher Blake Johnson applied the tag on Nichols and came up firing to Rountree at third, who was able to apply the tag on Bourque for the third and final out of the inning.

The momentum from the triple play carried over to their next set of at bats, as the Trojans came up with four runs on two hits in the bottom half of the frame. With runners on first and second, an RBI single by Clark plated Burk, who reached earlier in the frame on a walk, for the inning's first run. Bentley then proceeded to hit his third homer of the season over to left field, a three-run shot that put the Trojans on top 5-3 heading into the fifth.

The Trojans added another run on a RBI single by Parma in the bottom of the fifth to push their lead to three, but UL answered with a run of its own in the top of the sixth to again pull within two, 6-4.

The two teams combined for six runs in the seventh, with UL putting up three runs in the top half to go up 7-6, and UALR answering with three of its own to regain a 9-7 advantage. A couple of hits by Conrad and Compton were followed by a three-run homer by Tyler Girouard to give UL a brief 7-6 lead. But UALR answered with Burk's two-run homer to right and an infield RBI by Bignall to retake the lead, 9-7.

UL pulled within one on Bowman's RBI single in the top of the eighth. But Thionnet cruised the rest of the way, retiring Conrad to end the eighth and working a perfect ninth to allow UALR to hold on for the win.

UALR will return to action on Tuesday for a 3 p.m. matchup with Kansas at Gary Hogan Field. The Trojans originally planned to play a pair of midweek games against the Jayhawks, but due to conflicts with classes and upcoming final exams, both teams elected to play just one midweek contest and to move the game up to 3 p.m.

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