BOCA RATON, Fla. – UALR freshman Ashur Tolliver fanned a career-high 10 batters on Saturday night to lead the Trojans (14-20, 4-9) to a 3-2 win over Florida Atlantic (23-14, 6-11). The Owls had runners on second and third with one out in the bottom of the ninth, but junior Steve Gilgenbach took the mound and closed out the game by striking out the next two hitters to record the save.
Saturday’s victory gives UALR its first Sun Belt conference series win of the season. Tolliver (4-3) was the catalyst behind the win, holding an FAU squad which entered the weekend ranked sixth in the nation in scoring (8.7 runs per game) to just two runs (one earned). The Sherwood, Ark.-native went a career-high 8.0 innings, allowing seven hits with 10 strikeouts against two walks.
The Owls trailed 3-1 at the start of the ninth inning, but caught a break when a dropped foul ball kept leadoff hitter Travis Ozga’s at-bat alive. Ozga capitalized on the second chance with a double down the left field line. Junior Mike Rogers came on for Tolliver at that point, and watched as pinch hitter Justin Martin reached base on an error at short. With two on and no out, Daniel Cook ripped a single to left to score Ozga and make it a 3-2 contest.
After a sacrifice bunt moved the runners up, Gilgenbach took the mound with the tying run on third and the winning run on second with one out on the board. The junior hurler responded by striking out each of the next two hitters (both of whom went down looking) to seal the win and register his first save.
Chris Salberg (2-3) was credited with the loss after allowing three runs, eight hits and two walks to the Trojans over 5.2 innings. Brandon Kloess closed out the game with 3.2 innings of scoreless relief, allowing just one hit to the Trojans during his outing.
UALR took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second, when junior Osvaldo Torres belted a solo homer to right. The homer was Torres’ sixth of the year, tying him for the team lead. The Trojans then manufactured two runs in the top of the third to extend their lead to 3-0. Sophomore Daniel Guffey opened the frame with a single to third, and moved over to second on a bunt single by senior Brian Asbill.
With two runners on and no outs, senior Brett Lawler delivered a run-scoring single to make it a 2-0 contest. Salberg got the next batter to ground into a double play, but the Owls could not prevent Asbill from scoring from third to give UALR a 3-0 lead.
Sunday’s game time has been moved up due to expected rain in Boca Raton during the afternoon. The two teams will start the final game of the series at 9 a.m. (CT).