LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – UALR (12-18, 2-7) squandered a 4-2 lead in the top of the eighth, but junior Osvaldo Torres ripped a two-out, solo homer to deep centerfield in the bottom half to lift the Trojans to a 5-4 win over Middle Tennessee (17-17, 8-5) on Friday night at Gary Hogan Field.
Junior starter David Klumpp gave the Trojans a solid outing on Friday, going 7.0 innings with nine hits and four runs allowed (three earned), while racking up five strikeouts against just one walk.
“David Klumpp was the key tonight. Anytime he goes out there he gives us a chance to win. He set the tempo of the game, and we needed that,” said UALR head coach Jim Lawler. “We got a few clutch hits tonight and obviously Torres delivered the big one. We’re starting to get more guys on base and in scoring position. Hopefully this club will relax and just start playing.”
Klumpp dodged a bullet in the top of the seventh, preserving UALR’s 4-2 lead by escaping a no-out, bases-loaded jam unscathed. Middle Tennessee put its first three runners on base off a leadoff double by Matt Campbell, a walk by Myles Ervin and a single from Zach Barrett. Klumpp buckled down, however, and fanned the next two batters he faced before forcing Matt Ray to fly out to right to end the inning.
The Waco, Texas-native didn’t have the same fortune in the eighth as Middle Tennessee pushed across two runs to tie the game at 4-all. Adam Warren sparked the Blue Raiders with a leadoff single, then came around to score on a triple to the right field corner by Wayne Kendrick.
Junior Mike Rogers (3-4) came on in relief of Klumpp at that point with the tying run on third and no outs. Rogers fanned the first batter he faced, but could not get past Campbell, who tied the game at 4-all with a run-scoring single to left.
After watching their lead slip away, the Trojans got a boost from Torres, as the Puerto Rico native delivered his first home run since March 4 to put UALR on top 5-4. Torres’ blast came off MT starter Matt Scott (2-4) with two outs on the board and sailed over the wall in center.
Rogers stayed in the game and managed to close out the win, despite allowing a single to Ray off the wall in right. The junior hurler worked the final 2.0 innings to pick up his third victory of the year.
Scott took the loss after allowing eight hits and five runs (three earned) over 7.2 innings of work. Campbell led the Blue Raiders with a 3-for-4 day at the plate, while Humphrey paced the squad with two RBI.
Senior Ryan Gotcher and junior Nick DeSanctis accounted for five of the team’s eight hits on the night. Gotcher led the squad with a 3-for-4 effort and two doubles, while DeSanctis went 2-for-4 at the plate.
Gotcher got things started for the Trojans by opening the bottom of the first with a leadoff double to left field. After moving up to third on a groundout, Gotcher came around to score on a sacrifice fly to right by senior Brian Asbill.
Middle Tennessee answered in the top of the second, scratching across two runs to take a 2-1 lead. The Blue Raiders put two runners on base thanks to a leadoff single by Matt Campbell and a Trojan throwing error, which would have resulted in a force out at second. Justin Humphrey followed with a two-run single up the middle to give the Blue Raiders a 2-1 lead.
UALR evened the game at 2-all in the bottom half when junior Nathan Parker ripped his first home run of the year, a solo shot to right. After four scoreless innings, the Trojans took advantage of back-to-back errors by the Blue Raiders to plate a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth and go ahead 4-2. Parker plated the first runner with a RBI groundout, before DeSanctis followed with a two-out single to left.
The two teams resume their series tomorrow afternoon at 2 p.m.