Baseball suffers four-game skid
After losing to the Kansas Jayhawks 5-3 on Tuesday, March 22, in Lawrence, Kan., the UALR Trojans traveled to Troy, Ala., for Sun Belt Conference action Friday, March 25-Sunday, March 27. Troy swept UALR 6-2, 7-2, and 13-3.
Senior pitcher Daniel Golden (2-2, 4.45 ERA) started and got the loss for the Trojans (10-13, 2-4 SBC) against Kansas, pitching five innings, giving up four runs (two earned) and six hits.
The Jayhawks (10-13) led 4-0 before Myles Parma, UALR’s sophomore designated hitter, hit his first homerun of the year to lead off the top of the fifth inning. Senior first baseman Jake Rowell hit a 2-run single later in the inning, scoring left-fielder Sean Bignall and shortstop Greg Garcia, to account for all of the Trojans’ runs. Parma had two of the Trojans’ six hits.
The Trojans ran into a hot Troy team who had won seven of its past eight games, outscoring its opponents 69-13 in the seven wins. Troy (19-4, 5-1 SBC) has a ratings percentage index of 17 on the season and has and ERA of 2.86, which ranks top 50 nationally. RPI is used to rate a team based on its wins and losses and strength of schedule. The lower the RPI, the better rating a team has.
UALR matched Troy with 11 hits in Friday’s 6-2 loss, but left 10 men on base. Trojan senior Garret Graziano (2-4, 5.35) pitched six innings and gave up five runs and nine hits, while striking out four. Bignall, Parma and Garcia each had two hits for the Trojans, and junior Nick Rountree hit his team-leading third homerun of the season.
“Troy played well and was hitting on all cylinders,” UALR coach Scott Norwood said about the series. “We were disappointed with how we played in all phases of the game. We had some people play well, but we win and lose as a team.”
The starting pitching for UALR in the second and third games of the series was ineffective against a Troy team that has a .305 team batting average. After a complete game shutout against Arkansas State last weekend, senior Travis Henke (1-1, 2.96) pitched two and a third innings and gave up five runs on eight hits in Saturday’s loss. Senior Calvin Drinnen (2-2, 4.61) didn’t pitch any better, throwing one and a third innings, giving up five runs and five hits in the 13-3 rout.
Troy junior third baseman Tyler Hannah feasted on UALR pitching, going 8-12 for the three games and knocking in six runs. Garcia hit .500 for UALR going 5-10 with two RBIs for the series and hit his second homerun of the year in the series finale.
Garcia (.370) has taken the team lead in batting average from senior second baseman Jason Houston (.344). Parma is hitting .440, but does not have enough at-bats to qualify. Rowell has 15 RBIs and nine doubles to lead the team. Junior Cameron Bentley leads UALR with seven stolen bases.
“Hopefully, this will be a wake-up call that we have to keep working hard every day,” Norwood said. “We have proven we can play with anyone and we need to go back to fundamentals and keep looking forward. We will never accept losing [and] we will acknowledge our mistakes and fix them.”
The Trojans have a three-game series against SBC foe Western Kentucky starting Friday at Gary Hogan Field.