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Baseball falls in conference match-ups

Submitted by Adrian Miller on April 26, 2017 – 5:00 pmNo Comment

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock (LR) baseball team traveled to Texas to battle the University of Texas Arlington (UTA) on April 13-15. In the first game at Clay Gould Ballpark, the pitchers controlled the action. LR’s starting pitcher Cory Malcom went 7.1 innings, with six strike outs, but gave up two runs off nine hits. Those two runs would be enough for UTA to gain the 2-0 victory. Their starter, Kadon Simmons, pitched 8 shutout innings with five strikeouts and only allowing three hits. Seniors Nik Gifford, Zach Baker and Dalton Thomas recorded the three hits for the Trojans.
In the second game, the Trojans showed an offensive explosion. The 9-4 victory was LR’s second-ever road victory against UTA and its first win in Arlington since 2004. Down 1-0 entering the top of the 4th, LR took the lid off the pitcher and scored five runs in the inning. Senior Hunter Owens went 3 for 5 with two doubles, a RBI, two runs, and his team-leading sixth home run of the season. It was Owens sixteenth multiple-hit game this season. Senior Ty Gunter went 3 for 4 with an RBI and a run. Sophomore Riley Pittman hit a homer and brought in two runners in his only at bat. Junior reliever pitcher Justin Garcia earned his first win as a Trojan with 2.2 innings of cleanup work. Starter Ryan Lemoine took the no-decision in 4.1 innings.
Both teams put on offensive displays in the third game. The Trojans swung the bat well, recording 13 hits and scoring 5 runs. But the Mavericks answered with 10 hits, 10 runs, and the victory. Pittman went 3 for 5 with three RBI’s and a double, while Gifford and Thomas extended their on-base streaks to 13 and 12, respectively. Freshman pitcher Chandler Fidel suffered the loss, placing him at 2-4 on the season.
LR traveled home for their next conference game and hosted Louisiana Tech at Gary Hogan Field on April 19th. A rough night on the mound for the Trojans pitchers helped the Bulldogs to a 10-6 win. The Trojan pitching crew gave up seven walks, three hit-by-pitches while allowing 11 hits. Redshirt freshman Cale Ridling had a good night, going 2 for 3 with two runs, a RBI and a walk. Gifford and Thomas kept their reached-base streaks alive. Fidel took the loss in a relief effort.
LR then faced a three-game series at Gary Hogan Field on April 22-23 against Sun Belt West Division leader Louisiana-Lafayette. The Ragin’ Cajuns took all three against the Trojans, but not without LR putting up a fight. In the first leg of the double-header, Louisiana won 9-4 with 13 hits and two homers. LR starter Ryan Lemoine had a career-high seven strikeouts but allowed eight runs on 11 hits and three hit-by-pitches in the loss. Louisiana scored five runs in the fifth inning and took a commanding 8-0 lead into the top of the 7th. LR answered with 3 runs in the inning, but couldn’t match Louisiana’s fire power.
In the second game of the double header, LR took a 4-0 lead in the first inning and led 4-3 entering the top of the fifth. The Ragin’ Cajuns scored four in the inning and eventually won the game 7-4. Trojans starter Cory Malcolm struck out a career high 13 batters but gave up seven runs on eight hits and a walk. His 13 K’s was one shy of tying the program record for most in a single game. Gifford extended his on-base streak to 16.
Pitching dominated the series finale. LR struck out 11 batters, while Louisiana scored 12 K’s. It was a tie ball game entering the top of the ninth. Louisiana’s Steven Sensley blasted a two-run shot to right to put the Ragin’ Cajuns up 5-3. The Trojans couldn’t answer in the bottom of the inning and Louisiana took the victory. LR starter Fidel also had a career high in strikeouts with nine. As of writing, LR (14-26, 6-12) faces UCA in their next game.

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