LITTLE ROCK – Junior Travis McDonald helped UALR win a pitchers’ duel on Saturday, tossing 8.1 innings of shutout baseball as UALR took game two from FIU by a 1-0 final on senior day at Gary Hogan Field. Senior Tyler Buckley came on in the ninth and recorded the final two outs to pick up his third save of the season.
Just a day after FIU scored 12 runs on 16 hits in a game one victory, McDonald and Buckley limited the Panthers to no runs on just four hits to help the Trojans even the series. McDonald struck out a career-best eight batters and walked just one to improve to 2-2 on the season. The Sydney, Australia-native retired nine-straight at one point, then retired ten-straight over a span that lasted from the final out of the fifth inning through the final out of the eighth.
FIU starter Mike Franco (5-4) was saddled with the loss despite surrendering just one run on five hits and striking out seven in 6.1 innings of work. Mitchell Davis allowed just one hit while throwing the final 1.2 innings.
Senior Chris Burk led UALR’s offense with three of the team’s six hits on the day. Classmates Blake Johnson and Myles Parma as well as junior Ben Crumpton added a hit apiece, while Johnson scored the only run of the game on a RBI single by Burk in the bottom of the fourth.
UALR’s fourth inning began with a double by Johnson to lead off the frame. A groundout by Clark allowed Johnson to move to third, and Burk’s one-out single up the middle drove in the only run of the contest.
FIU was never able to get more than a single runner on base at a time. In the top of the fifth – the only inning the Panthers collected multiple hits – Oscar Agguire came up with an infield single, but was thrown out trying to steal second before Roche Woodard singled to left in the next at-bat. The Panthers went hitless in six innings and were retired in-order in five.
UALR and FIU will play game three of their series on Sunday at Gary Hogan Field beginning at 11 a.m. Senior Blake Huffman (6-3) will get the start for UALR, while Alex Seibold (2-5) is scheduled to toe the rubber for FIU.