LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Southern Arkansas’ Duke Williams (4-4) fanned six batters and scattered six hits over 7.0 innings to lead the Muleriders (25-9) past the UALR baseball team (11-5) Tuesday night at Gary Hogan Field. Skyler Stromsmoe went 2-for-4 and belted a two-run homer in the sixth inning, his first of the year, to help SAU outhit UALR 10-to-7.
Down 4-1 in the bottom of the eighth, the Trojans tried to put together a rally behind a leadoff walk by senior Ryan Gotcher and a double to left by senior Brett Lawler. With two on and two out, senior Brian Asbill appeared to have a single through the middle, but a diving Pat Robey prevented the ball from reaching the outfield. Asbill was able to beat the throw for an infield single (scoring Gotcher), but the ball got past SAU first baseman Dane Lucas. Lawler scored on the error to bring UALR within a run, 4-3.
With Asbill on first and no outs, the Muleriders turned to reliever Brandon Wellborn to preserve the win. Asbill moved into scoring position by stealing second, but Wellborn fanned the first two batters he faced and then Asbill was caught stealing at third to end the inning.
Wellborn worked the final 2.0 innings, allowing just one hit with four strikeouts, to pick up his seventh save of the season. Williams evened his season record at 4-4 with 7.0 solid innings, allowing just three runs to the Trojans – only one of which was earned.
SAU took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second after junior Nathan Parker issued a walk to Cannon Lester and hit Nick Smith with a pitch. Tyler Maag followed with a run-scoring single through the left side to score Lester and make it a 1-0 contest.
UALR answered in the bottom half, tying the game at 1-all despite going hitless in the inning. Junior Osvaldo Torres reached on a fielding error by Robey, and advanced up the bases on a groundout and two balks, the last of which allowed him to score from third.
Junior Mike Rogers (2-4) came on in relief of Parker in the top of the fourth, and managed to work his way out of a bases-loaded jam unscathed. Rogers wasn’t as fortunate in the sixth, however, as Stromsmoe delivered a two-out, two-run homer to right to give SAU a 3-1 lead. Rogers had fanned the first two batters of the inning, before surrendering a single to Maag and the ensuing homer to Stromsmoe.
The Muleriders extended their lead to three runs, 4-1, in the top of the seventh when Tye Glover followed a single by Jeremy Triche with a run-scoring double to left center.
Rogers took the loss for UALR after allowing six hits and three runs over 3.1 innings in relief. Asbill went 2-for-4 with a RBI to lead the Trojan offense, while Gotcher extended his hit streak to 15 games with a 1-for-3 effort.
UALR returns to action this weekend when it travels to Mobile, Ala. for a three-game conference series with South Alabama.