Classic duel in Trojan victory
Trojan junior shortstop Greg Garcia hit an RBI single in the ninth inning to break a scoreless tie and gave UALR a 1-0 win over the Arkansas State Red Wolves on Saturday, March 19, at Gary Hogan Field. Garcia went 2-4 in the pitcher’s duel. The win sets up a rubber game on Sunday after the Trojans lost 11-5 to ASU on Friday.
UALR (9-9, 1-1 SBC) right-fielder Nick Rountree went 2-3 in the game and started the ninth inning with a single to center field. ASU relief pitcher Cory Kyle threw a wild pitch to Trojan catcher Niko Navarro which allowed Rountree to advance to second base. UALR junior Hector Acosta pinch ran for Rountree, Navarro walked, and senior third-baseman Casey McCollum laid down a sacrifice bunt to put runners at second and third base. Kyle intentionally walked sophomore designated hitter Myles Parma (2-3) to load the bases and a chance for a double play, but Garcia hit the first pitch by ASU pitcher Brandon Farley, who relieved Kyle, to right field for the winner.
“It was obviously a well-pitched game,” UALR coach Scott Norwood said. “I tip my hat to their team, their staff – they work hard. Their kid threw a great game, but luckily we got a hit when it mattered. That wild pitch kind of set up the inning for us there in the ninth, but Greg stepped up in a tough situation looking for one pitch and got it, and fortunately we were on the winning side.”
After pitching seven innings of one-run baseball last week against then No. 2-ranked Oklahoma, Trojan senior right-hander Travis Henke (1-0, 1.44 ERA) pitched a nine-inning shutout, giving up six hits and striking out six. He threw an efficient 110 pitches and retired 10 of the last 11 Red Wolves.
“Travis was fantastic,” Norwood said. “He was in command of most of his pitches and he was last week as well. I think we’re going to see better things. He’s been sore [because of appendicitis]. That was his best longevity game. Last week he threw 79 pitches.”
ASU (10-10, 1-1) junior pitcher Jacob Lee, the preseason Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Year, pitched eight innings of scoreless ball against the Trojans for a no-decision. Lee gave up six hits and three walks, struck out five, and threw 132 pitches, but couldn’t out-pitch Henke, who allowed one runner to reach second base.
“He was ready to go,” Norwood said of Henke. “Same with their guy. That was just a good old classic pitcher’s duel. I think it just proves that we’re going to compete in this league. We’re not the cellar dwellers anymore and neither are they. We’ve got to keep winning these games. I’m proud of our guys for staying in there everyday.”