Trojans best Bears in non-conference action
The UALR baseball team ended a four-game losing streak with an 8-3 victory over the University of Central Arkansas Bears on Wednesday, March 30, at Bear Stadium in Conway, Ark.
After UCA starting pitcher Brian Willson (1-1, 5.40 ERA) retired the first four batters of the game, Trojan first baseman Jake Rowell hammered the second pitch of the at bat over the right field fence. The homerun was the first of the season for Rowell.
The Trojans (11-13) went up 3-0 in the top of the third when junior center-fielder Cameron Bentley led off the inning with a double to left field and junior left-fielder Sean Bignall reached on an error. Shortstop Greg Garcia put down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners to second and third base, and senior second baseman Jason Houston followed with and RBI groundout to second base. Catcher Nick Rountree hit a two-out single to center to end the scoring in the inning.
“We just got back to playing the baseball that we want to play; where we dictate the tempo on offense and let the pitching and defense kind of dictate it to us,” assistant coach Rick Guarno said. “We want to be able to sac bunt a little more, bunt for some hits [and] hit-and-run to do the little things to move runners over and get them in.”
Trojan junior lefty Dillon Wilson (1-1, 9.00 ERA) started and pitched four and a third innings, giving up two runs, four hits and four walks while striking out five. Senior righty John Maler (2-2, 1.86) relieved Wilson and picked up the win, pitching three and two thirds innings of scoreless baseball, while striking out four.
“Dillon hasn’t got as many innings lately as we would have liked for him, but to come out and pitch us into the fifth [inning] in a midweek game was pretty big,” Guarno said. “Maler came in and did what he’s been doing all season. [He] got some strikeouts and got guys to put the ball into play, and held them scoreless.”
The Bears (12-14) scored two runs off of Wilson in the third inning from three singles to make the score 3-2, but the Trojans scored a run in each of the fourth and sixth innings. UALR scored three runs in the top of the seventh to give the Trojans an 8-2 lead. Houston led the inning off with a single to left field and Rountree advanced to first after a catcher’s interference call. Rowell grounded out to first base, but advanced the runners to second and third base.
Third baseman Casey McCollum, who was hit by a pitch three times and scored two runs, followed with a sacrifice fly to right field to score Houston Sophomore Myles Parma hit a two-out single to score Rountree. Two batters later, Bentley had a bunt single for his second hit and second RBI scoring Parma to close out the Trojans’ scoring.
UCA center-fielder Jonathan Davis went 3-4 with an RBI in the losing effort. The Bears left 13 men on base, while the Trojans left seven. Parma went 2-5 with a run and an RBI, and Bentley went 2-3 with two RBIs to lead the Trojans.