BOCA RATON, Fla. – UALR (23-23, 9-14 Sun Belt) rebounded from a 9-4 loss in game one to slug its way past Florida Atlantic (33-16, 13-10) 14-10 in game two as the teams split a doubleheader Saturday afternoon (May 4) at FAU Baseball Stadium in Boca Raton, Fla.
Junior Dillon Moritz evened his record to 2-2 with the win in game two for UALR, allowing only one run on four hits with three strikeouts in tossing the final four innings. Senior Chance Cleveland (5-7) took the loss in game one for the Trojans, allowing seven runs (six earned) on 11 hits and two walks with five strikeouts in five innings.
Offensively on the day, senior Blake Johnson went 4-for-10 with four RBI. Junior Austin Pfeiffer had three hits in eight at-bats with a home run, three runs scored and three RBI. Junior Ben Crumpton went 2-for-8 with three runs scored and three RBI.
Senior John Clark and junior Kaleb Jobe each added a home run for UALR.
For Florida Atlantic, Jake Meiers improved to 4-2 out of the bullpen, allowing two runs and four hits while striking out three in four innings in game one. Bo Logan lost his first ballgame in five decisions for the Owls in game two, walking both batters which eventually scored what would be the winning runs.
Six FAU players recorded at least four hits on the day, led by Levi Meyer’s 4-for-8 effort with a home run. Mark Nelson added four hits in eight at-bats with two doubles, three RBI and two runs scored. Ricky Santiago went 4-for-10 with a home run, four runs scored and a pair of RBI.
Fireworks ensued in game two as both teams had leads of three or more runs. UALR began the game up 3-0 in the top of the second inning. In the first, Crumpton led off the game with a walk before being sacrificed to second. Crumpton advanced to third on a single and scored on a sacrifice fly by Clark. Junior Bryson Thionnet and sophomore Sage Gasaway both hit their way on to begin the second and scored on RBI singles by Crumpton and Johnson.
Clinging to a 3-2 lead in the fourth, the Trojans added two more runs to retake a three-run advantage. Gasaway singled and Crumpton drew a walk after being in an 0-2 hole. Both runners moved up on a sacrifice and scored on Johnson’s double.
The Owls came right back with a run of their own in the bottom of the fourth, but Jobe homered in the top of the fifth down the left field line to open up a UALR 6-3 lead after five.
The sixth inning is where the game took off offensively. Corey Keller led off the bottom of the inning with a solo home run for Florida Atlantic. Santiago bunted his way on base followed by a Mitch Morales single to put the tying runs on base. Nathan Pittman then loaded the bases when he reached on an error. Geoff Jimenez and Mark Nelson roped back-to-back doubles to give FAU the 7-6 advantage, the home team’s first lead of the game. A balk and a wild pitch game Florida Atlantic its three-run lead after six.
UALR took the lead for good with two-out lightning the next half-inning. With two on and two down, senior David Guarno and Crumpton walked to bring the Trojans within two. Pfeiffer singled to tie the game and an RBI single by Johnson to right gave UALR what looked like a 10-9 lead. However, the cutoff man held the ball and Pfeiffer alertly took off from third and scored. UALR led 11-9 after seven.
UALR put up three more runs in the eighth for insurance thanks to a trio of walks, a passed ball, a wild pitch and an RBI single by Crumpton.
Florida Atlantic added a single run in the bottom of the ninth for the final 14-10 score.
A balk with a man at third, a home run by Meyer and an RBI triple by Pittman gave Florida Atlantic a quick 3-0 lead after two innings. UALR cut the deficit to 3-2 thanks to a two-run shot by Clark in the top of the third. Florida Atlantic retook the three-run advantage on Santiago’s solo home run and an RBI single by Nelson after four innings.
An RBI single by Thionnet in the sixth and a solo home run by Pfeiffer in the seventh were not enough as Florida Atlantic took game one, 9-4.
UALR returns to action Sunday morning (May 5) in the rubber-game of the series against Florida Atlantic at 9:30 A.M.