Trojans swept in consecutive series
The Trojans surrendered 20 hits and lost 17-7 to the Florida International University Golden Panthers on Sunday April 24, at Gary Hogan Field. The Trojans have suffered consecutive series sweeps and are tied for last in the league along with Louisiana-Monroe. South Alabama swept them the previous series in Mobile, Ala.
The Trojans (16-23, 6-12 SBC) manufactured a run in the first inning when left fielder Sean Bignall doubled to right field to start the bottom of the first inning. Jason Houston sacrifice bunted, advancing Bignall to third base. Designated hitter Nick Rountree grounded out to the pitcher, scoring Bignall and giving the Trojans a 1-0 lead.
The Golden Panthers (25-16, 10-8 SBC) countered with a run in the top of the second inning when right-fielder Jabari Henry hit a two-out solo homerun to left field, tying the score 1-1.
After FIU second baseman David Vazquez dropped a foul pop up, Houston took advantage of the extra life and hit a one-out double to left field in the bottom of the third. After a strike out by Rountree, first baseman Jake Rowell hit a double to right-center field that scored Houston. Catcher Niko Navarro followed with an RBI single to score Rowell and give UALR a 3-1 lead.
Houston went 3 for 4 with an RBI and two runs scored and Rowell finished 3 for 5 with two RBIs and he scored two runs.
FIU tied it up 3-3 when left-fielder Tyler Shantz doubled in Mike Martinez in the top of the fourth and catcher Jose Behar hit it third base for an RBI groundout. Shantz finished 5 for 6 with five RBIs and two runs scored.
UALR senior Garrett Graziano (3-6, 6.56 ERA) took the loss after coming in for senior Calvin Drinnen in the top of the fourth. Graziano pitched an inning of relief and gave up four runs including a three-run homer by Shantz. Drinnen pitched three and two-third innings and gave up three runs on five hits, while walking three.
The Trojans got within 7-6 in the bottom of the fifth when Rowell led off with a homerun into the trees beyond the right-field fence. Right-fielder Myles Parma was hit by a pitch and shortstop Greg Garcia got on with a walk. Centerfielder Cameron Bentley tripled to left-center field that scored two.
FIU took control with help from reliever Kyle Fitzpatrick (6-1, 2.31) who earned the win after entering the game in the sixth inning. He retired nine consecutive Trojans before giving up a lead off homerun to Houston to start the bottom of the ninth.
While Fitzpatrick was holding UALR down, the Trojans weren’t doing the same with the Panthers’ hitters. FIU scored four runs in the sixth, two in the seventh and four in the ninth to get to the Trojan relievers.
Martinez went 3 for 5 with four RBIs and two runs scored, and Henry scored four runs, going 2 for 4 with two RBIs for FIU. Navarro went 2 for 4 with an RBI for UALR.