LITTLE ROCK – Senior Chance Cleveland went the distance while giving up just two runs on five hits Friday night at Gary Hogan Field, as UALR (12-14, 1-6 SBC) earned its first SBC victory of the season with a 3-2 win over ULM (10-16, 1-6 SBC). Trailing 2-1 heading into the bottom of the eighth inning, the Trojans put up two run on three hits and scored the go-ahead run when junior Ben Crumpton broke for home after ULM catcher Logan Fiasco tried to throw senior Myles Parma out on a steal attempt at second base.
After ULM took a 2-1 lead on a two-run homer by Justin Stawychny in the top of the seventh, UALR began the eighth inning with a single to left field by junior Bryson Thionnet. Crumpton then singled through the left side and junior Austin Pfeiffer bunted for a single down the third base line to load the bases for UALR with no outs.
ULM starter Cale Wine, who also went the distance for the Warhawks, was able to get senior Blake Johnson out on strikes for the first UALR out of the inning. But the next UALR hitter, Parma, was able to drive in the game-tying run on a fielder’s choice to the second baseman. Then with senior Chris Burk at the plate, Parma broke for second base after the first pitch of the at-bat. When Fiasco threw to second, Crumpton bolted for home and slid in safely to score the go-ahead run.
Cleveland started the ninth by walking Brandon Alexander on four pitches and a sacrifice bunt by the next ULM hitter advanced the Alexander to second. Chet Simoneaux singled through the left side to move Alexander to third, but was thrown out at second trying to advance on the throw to home plate. Ryan Bergeron lined out to Crumpton at third for the game’s final out, and Cleveland improved to 3-4 with the win.
Wine was handed the loss for ULM despite surrendering just three runs on seven hits and striking out five UALR hitters in the complete-game effort. The loss drops the senior right-hander to 3-4 on the year.
UALR was led on offense by two hits apiece by Crumpton and Pfeiffer. Crumpton also scored two of the Trojans’ three runs on the night.
The Trojans scored the first run of the night in their first set of at-bats, when a sac fly off the bat of Johnson plated Crumpton to make it a 1-0 game. Crumpton led off the inning with a single up the middle, then stole second before a single by Pfeiffer allowed him to slide over to third. Johnson’s fly ball to right field allowed Crumpton to cross home plate and give the Trojans an early lead.
Wine settled in after the first inning, retiring 11-straight UALR batters at one point and keeping the Trojans off the scoreboard until its two runs in the bottom of the eighth. Cleveland was equally impressive, retiring seven-straight at one point while allowing just five hits over his 9.0 innings of work.
UALR and ULM will return to action with game two of their series on Saturday at Gary Hogan Field. Senior Blake Huffman will be on the hill for the Trojans and left-hander Alex Dumaine will get the start for ULM. First pitch is slated for 4 p.m.