Trojans avoid sweep with Sunday win
The UALR baseball team won the last game of a series against the Bradley Braves 11-7 to avoid a season-opening sweep at home on Sunday, Feb. 27, at Gary Hogan Field. The Trojans were shut out in the first game of the series 4-0 on Friday and lost 8-5 in the second game.
The Trojans (3-5) had a season-high 15 hits in the finale and junior lefty Dillon Wilson (1-0) pitched five innings, giving up five hits and three runs, to earn the win. Junior designated hitter Justin Barnes went 1-2, with two RBIs and hit UALR’s first home run of the season in the third inning.
The Braves walked the first four batters of the seventh inning which included two errors and three hits. UALR scored six runs in the inning to go up 11-3. Senior second baseman Jason Houston led the Trojans with four hits, going 4-5 and scoring two runs Sunday. Through eight games this year, Houston leads UALR with a .344 average.
In the first game on Friday, the Trojans ran into a hot pitcher in Bradley junior lefty Joe Bircher (2-0). Bircher pitched seven innings of scoreless baseball, striking out seven and giving up three hits. Trojan senior righty Garrett Graziano (1-1) pitched six innings and gave up four runs, striking out four in the loss. Junior righty Nick Grimmett relieved Graziano and pitched three scoreless innings.
Bradley (4-3) won the second game of the series on Saturday thanks to a seven-run fifth inning. The Trojans led 4-1 after the fourth inning, but two errors in the top of the fifth led to two unearned runs. Trojan junior center fielder Cameron Bentley went 4-5 with two runs while his teammate, third base senior Casey McCollum, went 3-5 with a run and one RBI.
UALR senior right-hander Daniel Golden (0-1) took the loss while pitching 4 1/3 innings and giving up five runs, three of them earned.
The Trojans will stay at home and take on the Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne Mastodons this weekend at Gary Hogan Field. The first game is Friday at 3 p.m.