Trojans rocked, topped by WKU
The UALR baseball team gave up six runs in the first two innings in losing 14-3 to the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers on Friday, April 1, at Gary Hogan Field. WKU had 16 hits in the opening game of the three-game series of Sun Belt Conference play.
There was no fooling when Trojan senior pitcher Garret Graziano (2-5, 6.07 ERA) struck out the first batter and then walked the next three batters to load the bases in the first inning. Hilltopper right-fielder Ryan Hutchison grounded into a 5-4 fielder’s choice for the first of his three RBIs. Graziano walked the next batter and gave up a two-run single to center field by WKU third baseman Casey Dykes.
Graziano pitched three innings and gave up six runs (five earned) on six walks while striking out three. Senior Daniel Golden (2-2, 5.85 ERA) relieved Graziano in the fourth inning only to be greeted with a lead-off double by catcher Matt Rice. After a fly out to center field by Kes Carter, Golden gave up two singles and a walk before designated hitter Chris Bullard smashed a grand slam to right field to cap a five-run fourth. Bullard finished the game with five RBIs, while Carter went 4-5 with two RBIs.
The Hilltoppers (17-9, 6-1 SBC) got an excellent performance from its sophomore lefty Tanner Perkins (6-1, 2.09 ERA), who pitched seven innings of scoreless baseball, giving up four hits and striking out eight.
The Trojans (11-14, 2-5) got to WKU freshman righty Brian Doering for three runs in the eighth inning when he relieved Perkins. UALR sophomore designated hitter Myles Parma started the inning with a single to left field, followed by a single from junior Hector Acosta and an RBI double from junior Cameron Bentley, scoring Parma to get the Trojans on the board.
UALR left-fielder Sean Bignall grounded out to the shortstop to score Acosta and senior Trevor Burton, who came in to play second base in the eighth inning, hit an RBI single to center field to score Bentley.
Trojan freshman lefty Andrew Hohn relieved Golden in the sixth inning and pitched three innings of solid relief, giving up two runs and four hits, while striking out three. Junior lefty Andrew Loe pitched an inning of scoreless relief in the ninth.
Parma went 4-4 to raise his average to .515, but his 33 at-bats for the season don’t qualify him for the team lead. Senior Jason Houston holds the team lead in average, hitting .340 with 97 at-bats.