LITTLE ROCK - The UALR baseball team (8-3) finished off an impressive weekend with an 11-3 win over the Western Illinois Leathernecks (2-7) on Sunday afternoon from Gary Hogan Field. UALR played four games in four days, winning three straight to close out the weekend. After a scoreless first inning, the Trojans scored at least one run over the next eight innings, putting an exclamation point on a dominant weekend.
Junior Austin Pfeiffer led the way for the Trojans, going 3-for-4 with three runs scored and one RBI. Pfeiffer was joined my junior Ben Crumpton and seniors David Guarno and Myles Parma who each tallied two hits apiece on the afternoon. Crumpton continued his efficiency at the top of the Trojan lineup, scoring two runs and blasting a two-run home run over the centerfield fence. Guarno sustained his hot streak at the plate, driving in two runners and parking a solo home run of his own, while Parma added an RBI and a run scored along with his two hits.
Junior Ethan Schlechte was equally impressive on the mound for the Trojans, working seven complete innings of five-hit baseball and only allowing one earned run in the process. The right-hander from Imperial, Mo. improved to 2-0 on the season, while keeping the Western Illinois offense at bay for the majority of the contest.
UALR got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the second inning when junior Kaleb Jobe roped a two-out RBI-single to right field, scoring Parma from second base and putting the Trojans on top 1-0.
Western Illinois responded with two runs in the top of the third inning, despite Schlechte recording the first two outs of the inning. A wild pitch and an error in the frame led to the two runs, but that would be the only runs scored by the Leathernecks until the ninth inning.
Western Illinois didn't have the lead for long though, as Guarno led off the bottom of the third with a solo home run over the left field fence, tying the game at 2-2. Later in the inning with the bases loaded, senior John Clark delivered a sacrifice fly to deep right field that gave the lead back to UALR at 3-2. Senior Chris Burk rounded out the scoring in the bottom of the third inning, drawing a bases loaded walk. After three complete frames, UALR led Western Illinois 4-2.
From that point forward, the rout was on as the UALR offense consistently gave the Leatherneck's pitching staff fits all afternoon. A three-run sixth inning, highlighted by Crumpton's two-run home run, provided the Trojans with a commanding 9-2 lead after six complete innings. The Trojans would add on one run in the seventh inning and one run in the eighth, extending their lead to 11-2.
Seniors Bubba Cooper and Tyler Buckley worked the eighth and ninth innings respectively, helping Schlechte close the door on the Leatherneck's afternoon. Cooper recorded back-to-back strikeouts to get out of a bases loaded jam in the eighth, while Buckley struck out three batters in the ninth.
UALR returns to action on Tuesday, March 5 for the first of two midweek games against the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks. First pitch on Tuesday from Gary Hogan Field is scheduled for 6 p.m.