LITTLE ROCK – The UALR baseball team got another solid performance from its pitching staff in a 1-0 win over Southeast Missouri at Gary Hogan Field. Senior Ben Crumpton led off the game with a double and came around to score, and the pitchers did the rest as UALR moved to 4-0.
Sophomore Chad Bradford got the start for the Trojans and went 4.1 inning, allowing three hits while striking out a career high six batters. Bradford set the tone for the staff by throwing 16 first-pitch strikes to the 18 batters he faced. But he found himself in a jam with one out in the top of the fifth and bases loaded. So head coach Scott Norwood turned to the bullpen and once again it pulled through.
Sophomore Jesse Harbin took the rubber facing SEMO’s leadoff batter and induced a 6-4-3 double play to get out of the inning. Harbin worked a perfect sixth and got five outs while only facing four batters in his 1.2 innings to get the win. In the seventh it was freshman Cory Malcom’s turn to toe the rubber. Just like he did in his college debut Saturday against Creighton, Malcom shut down the offense. The Indiana native retired the side in order.
Junior Tanner Rockwell vacated his designated hitter spot in the lineup to pitch the eighth, and although he allowed the first baserunner of the night for the UALR bullpen with a walk, pitched a scoreless inning. In the ninth the Trojans handed the ball to junior Brent Mason who, just like the four pitchers before him, did exactly what he needed to do. Mason retired the first two batters of the inning before giving up a two-out single. But he rebounded to induce a grounder to junior Justin Steelmon at first base, Steelmon took it to the bag himself and with that secured the team’s first shutout of the season and fourth straight win.
Crumpton led the offense going 2-for-3 with two doubles, a walk and the game-winning run scored. The third baseman also had six assists while manning the hot corner. Senior Austin Pfeiffer provided the game’s only RBI with a sacrifice fly to right field. Sophomore Hayden Martin collected the team’s third hit going 1-for-2 with a walk.
The win moves UALR to 4-0 for the first time in Norwood’s tenure and the first time since 1999 when the team started 5-0. The 4.2 scoreless innings from the bullpen brings the group to 14.2 innings this season and it is yet to surrender an earned run.
The Trojans will be back in action on Friday at 3 p.m. at Gary Hogan Field to start their three-game series against Bradley. Game two on Saturday will start at 3 p.m. as well with the finale on Sunday scheduled to start at 1 p.m.