Trojans on conference skid
The Trojans dropped their sixth consecutive Sun Belt Conference game, losing 8-4 to the Florida International University Golden Panthers on Saturday, April 23, at Gary Hogan Field.
Trojan left-handed starter Ryan Juris (1-2, 6.04 ERA) gave up one hit through the first three innings, but was touched for three consecutive doubles in the top of the fourth inning that scored two runs. The Golden Panthers (24-16, 9-8 SBC) would add two more in the inning with an RBI single and sacrifice fly for a total of four runs scored in the inning.
Juris got the loss, pitching four and two-third innings, giving up five runs on seven hits. He struck out five and walked four.
FIU added a run in the top of the fifth to go up 5-0 when shortstop Garrett Wittels led off with his third double of the game and came around to score on first baseman Mike Martinez’ second double, and second RBI of the game. Wittels finished 4 for 5 with two runs scored.
The Trojans (16-22, 6-11 SBC) fought back in the bottom of the fifth when catcher Niko Navarro hit a one-out single to right field and centerfielder Cameron Bentley reached on an error by third baseman Jeremy Patton. After shortstop Brock Feldmann struck out, left-fielder Sean Bignall hit a two-out, two-run double to center to put the Trojans on the board, and make the score 5-2.
The Panthers added two more in the top of the sixth when catcher Jose Behar hit a one-out single to right field and centerfielder Pablo Bermudez reached on an error by Feldmann. After Patton singled to right, right-fielder Myles Parma didn’t handle the ball cleanly, allowing Behar to score. FIU added its second run of the inning on Wittels’ fourth hit of the game, a single to center, that scored Bermudez and extended FIU’s lead to 7-2.
UALR scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth when designated hitter Nick Rountree led off with a walk. Third baseman Casey McCollum reached on an error by Wittels two batters later to put runners at first and second. Parma hit a single to right that scored Rountree and Navarro followed with a single to left, scoring McCollum. Navarro finished 2 for 4 with an RBI.
FIU starter R.J. Fondon (3-4, 3.20 ERA) picked up the win for the Golden Panthers, pitching five and two-third innings, giving up four unearned runs on six hits, while striking out five.
The two teams combined for seven errors in a sloppy game.
Trojan freshman left-hander Andrew Hohn (1-0, 5.04) was a bright spot for the team. He pitched two innings of scoreless relief, allowing no hits while striking out one.