LITTLE ROCK - The UALR baseball team (1-1) tied its weekend series with the Evansville Purple Aces (1-1) at a game apiece, following an 8-7 win at Gary Hogan Field on Saturday. UALR accounted for 10 hits on the afternoon, led by a 2-for-4, three-RBI performance from senior Blake Johnson. Sophomore Cameron Allen was credited with the win, tossing 3.1 innings of work out of the bullpen.
After a slow offensive outing in their first game, the Trojans responded with eight runs on Saturday, including a three-run inning in the bottom of the fourth and a five-run inning in the bottom of the fifth.
Similar to Friday night's contest, Evansville jumped out to an early advantage with Purple Aces' leadoff batter Kevin Kaczmarski doubling twice and scoring twice in his first two plate appearances. After three complete innings, Evansville led 3-0.
UALR starting pitcher Blake Huffman struck out four batters, but was pulled after 4.2 innings of work, allowing five hits and three walks in the process.
After three scoreless innings from Evansville's starting pitcher Sam Johns, the Trojans were able to disrupt the Purple Ace's right-hander the second time through the batting order. With a run already on the board in the bottom of the fourth inning, UALR's Bryson Thionnet ripped a two-out, two-RBI double over the centerfielder's head, scoring Johnson and senior John Clark and bringing the score to 3-3.
Evansville put a run back on the board in the top of the fifth, but the Trojans erupted for five more runs in the bottom half inning, capped by a three-run homerun over the right field fence from Johnson. The home run was the first on the season for Johnson, as well as the first home run for the Trojans this year.
Evansville made things interesting in the top of the ninth inning when a two-RBI triple from the Purple Ace's Jason Hockemeyer brought the go-ahead run to the plate with nobody out. Head coach Scott Norwood then called on junior Dillon Moritz, who proceeded to strike out Evansville's Jonathan Ramon for the first out of the inning. After a single to left field that scored Hockemeyer, Moritz picked off Evansville's David Patton who was pinch running for John Day. Moritz would retire the next batter, slamming the door on the Purple Aces and picking up his first save of the season in the process.
Six different Trojans scored runs Saturday afternoon, including two from Johnson and two from junior Ben Crumpton. Senior Chris Burk ended the game with two hits, a run scored, and an RBI.
Sunday's rubber match is set for 1 p.m. The Trojans will hand the ball over to junior Ethan Schlechte, while the Purple Aces will send out senior Kyle Lloyd.