LITTLE ROCK - The UALR baseball team (7-3) took an early lead over the Iowa Hawkeyes (4-5) and never looked back, giving the Trojans a 9-3 win on Saturday from Gary Hogan Field. For UALR, it's the second consecutive win against the BIG 10 foe. Eight of the nine starters recorded a hit, led by senior Blake Johnson's 3-for-5 performance. Senior pitcher Blake Huffman earned his second win of the season, tossing seven complete innings and only allowing one earned run.
Junior Ben Crumpton went 1-for-3 with two runs scored and two RBI's and senior David Guarno continued his torrid pace at the plate going 2-for-4 with two RBI's, helping lead the Trojans to 11 total hits on the afternoon.
The Trojans wasted little time jumping out on the Hawkeyes, striking for two runs in the bottom of the first inning. Iowa starting pitcher Calvin Mathews got the start on the bump for the Hawkeyes, but the Trojans were anything but cordial to the Iowa freshman, knocking him out of the game after one-third of an inning. A lead-off double by Crumpton and an RBI-single by junior Austin Pfeiffer gave UALR a 1-0 lead two batters into the game. Later in the frame, senior Chris Burk worked a bases loaded walk, giving the Trojans a 2-0 lead after the first inning.
With the Trojan's spotting Huffman some early runs to work with, the senior carved up the Hawkeye offense early, retiring the first six batters in order. Through six innings, Huffman kept Iowa off the scoreboard and scattered three base hits.
UALR would bust things open with a six-run fifth inning as the Trojans sent 11 batters to the plate in the frame. Crumpton started the inning with a lead-off walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch. After a strikeout, Johnson ripped an RBI-single to right field, scoring Crumpton from second base. Senior John Clark then joined the hit parade, lacing a single through the left side and putting runners on first and second with one out. Senior Myles Parma followed with an RBI-double to left center that brought home Johnson. Guarno then delivered the big blow of the inning, lining a single to center field that scored Clark and Parma and extending the UALR lead to 7-0. The Trojans would score another run in the inning courtesy of a Hawkeye fielding error.
UALR ran into some trouble in the seventh inning, as two errors lead to two unearned runs for the visitors. Despite the struggles, Huffman was able to minimize the damage and escape the inning with the Trojans still leading 8-3.
A sacrifice fly by Crumpton in the bottom of the seventh inning gave the Trojans even more breathing room heading into the final two innings. Sophomores Cameron Allen and Matt Brown worked the eighth and ninth innings respectively in relief of Huffman. The duo out of the bullpen combined for two innings of scoreless baseball, two strikeouts, and no hits.
The Trojans return to action Sunday afternoon for their fourth game in as many days, taking on the Western Illinois Leathernecks. Junior RHP Ethan Schlechte is the probable starter for the Trojans, while Western Illinois is projected to send out sophomore RHP Mason Pingel to the mound. First pitch from Gary Hogan field is scheduled for 1 p.m.