Trojans best Blue Raiders
The baseball team won its third Sun Belt Conference series of the season against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders, April 8-10, at Gary Hogan Field. The Trojans won Friday’s game 5-4 and Saturday’s game 3-2, before losing 8-4 in the series finale.
Senior starting pitcher Ryan Juris (1-0, 4.19 ERA) highlighted the series win, picking up a no-decision in Saturday’s 3-2 win over MTU (9-22, 3-9 SBC). Juris pitched eight and one-third innings, giving up two runs on five hits, while striking out four. Freshman Andrew Hohn (1-0, 5.40 ERA) got his first win when he relieved Juris in the ninth inning and induced an inning-ending double play.
Trojan left-fielder Sean Bignall was hit by a pitch to start the Trojans’ half of the ninth and advanced to second on a passed ball. He advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Brock Feldmann and MTU pitchers intentionally walked the next two Trojans before Bignall scored the winning run on a wild pitch.
In Friday’s game, Trojan senior Garret Graziano (3-5, 5.68 ERA) picked up the win after relieving starter Travis Henke (1-1, 3.58 ERA). Graziano pitched three and two-third innings without giving up a run.
The game was tied 4-4 when UALR senior second baseman Jason Houston hit a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh inning to score shortstop Greg Garcia. It proved to be the winning run.
Senior Calvin Drinnen (3-3, 5.72 ERA) got the loss in Sunday’s contest, pitching five and one-third innings and giving up seven runs. Junior catcher Nick Rountree hit his team-leading fifth homerun of the season in the loss.
The Trojans (15-16, 6-6 SBC) won the series despite being out hit 35-20. Junior designated hitter Justin Barnes hit his second homerun of the year in Saturday’s win.
Houston leads the team with a .327 batting average, although sophomore right-fielder Myles Parma is hitting .456, but doesn’t qualify because he doesn’t have enough at-bats. Senior first baseman Jake Rowell has 25 RBIs for the team lead.
Graziano and Drinnen each have three wins to lead the team, but Graziano also leads in losses with five, and walks with 23. Henke has 29 strikeouts in 37 2/3 innings for first on the team.
UALR is currently fifth in the SBC standings, four games behind division leader Troy (25-6, 10-2 SBC and ranked #18 in the Baseball America poll). The Trojans travel to Mobile, Ala., to face the South Alabama Jaguars (15-16, 5-7 SBC) starting Friday.