LITTLE ROCK – The UALR baseball team’s offense jumped on Creighton early and the bullpen shut the door on a comeback for a 7-4 win at Gary Hogan Field. Senior Ethan Schlechte picked up the win and senior Austin Pfeiffer provided the big blow, a three-run home run for the Trojans (2-0, 0-0 Sun Belt Conference), as they downed the Bluejays (0-2, 0-0 Big East) for the second time in as many days.
Schlechte (1-0) was spotted a 6-0 lead after the Trojans’ offense scored three in the first and second innings. The right-hander cruised through the first five innings, but ran into trouble in the sixth when he allowed a three-run home run. After senior Chase Rousseau got two outs and sophomore Chad Bradford walked the only batter he faced UALR turned to freshman Cory Malcom making his college debut and the freshman didn’t disappoint.
Malcom pitched 2.1 innings with five strikeouts to bridge the gap between Schlechte and sophomore closer Brent Mason. Mason picked up the save by allowing just one hit in the ninth inning. Schlechte finished with 5.0 innings pitched and allowed three runs on four hits and one walk to go with three strikeouts.
Pfeiffer reached base in the first when he hit into a fielder’s choice. He then stole second and third before junior Tanner Rockwell’s double drove him and senior Bryson Thionnet in. The Trojans scored a third run on the play as a bobble in left field allowed junior Justin Steelmon to score from first.
In the second inning junior Drew Merten and sophomore Ryan Scott each drew walks, two of the eight Creighton’s pitchers surrendered, before Pfeiffer stepped to the plate. The shortstop, who hit nine home runs last season, got a pitch out over the plate and put it over the left-centerfield wall for a three-run homer.
The Trojans added a seventh run in the fifth when Thionnet was hit by a pitch and driven in by junior Mitchell Scheuler’s double. UALR threatened to add to its lead in the eighth like it did the night before when senior Ben Crumpton tripled to deep left-center but was unable to bring him home.
Pfeiffer led the offense with his home run, three RBIs and two stolen bases. Crumpton went 2-for-4 with a triple and a single as well as stealing a base. Rockwell also went 2-for-4 and drove in two runs. Scott and Scheuler added the team’s other two hits.
The Trojans moved to 13-3 under Scott Norwood in season-opening series and pulled closer to Creighton in the programs’ all-time series at 8-5. UALR will try to make a season-opening sweep on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Gary Hogan Field.