UALR Uses Walks, Homers to Take Series From Cajuns
It’s not like Louisiana’s pitching staff to issue twelve free base runners, but that happened on Sunday and UALR took advantage to gain a 9-8 win over the Ragin’ Cajuns at Gary Hogan Field in Little Rock.
UALR also made use of the long ball, getting a three run homer from Cameron Bentley and a two run shot by Chris Burk which gave the Trojans the lead for good.
The Trojans (22-21, 9-12 Sun Belt) scored in the first inning off Cajuns’ starter Jordan Harrison when Bentley led off with a single and moved to second on an errant pickoff throw. A sacrifice moved the runner over and a sacrifice fly by third baseman Nick Rountree gave UALR an early 1-0 lead.
The Cajuns came alive in the third inning on a two run homer by Dylan Butler to give the Cajuns a 2-1 lead. It was the seventh home run for the freshman outfielder but his first since March 23rd.
The Cajuns (20-23, 8-13) had a golden opportunity to break the game open in the fourth when Tyler Frederick reached on an error to start the inning. Jordan Bourque singled and Daniel Nichols doubled home a run to make it 3-1 with runners at second and third and none out. But Chris Sinclair flied out to center field, Bourque was thrown out trying to score and Nichols was thrown out when he overslid the bag at third for a triple play to get UALR out of the inning.
Harrison started the fourth inning by hitting Myles Parma with a pitch and walking Chris Burk. That ended the day for the lefthander, who hit three batters and walked four in three innings of work. Reliever Matt Hicks came on and got a force out, but designated hitter John Clark singled home a run to cut the lead to 3-2. Bentley then delivered his home run off the scoreboard in right center and UALR had a 5-3 lead.
The Trojans increased the lead to 6-3 in the fifth when reliever Joe Zimmerman walked Nick Rountree to lead off the fifth, and Blake Johnson and Myles Parma followed with singles. But Zimmerman got a forceout and two strikeouts to prevent further damage.
Great play in the outfield by UALR prevented big damage in the sixth when rightfielder Ben Crumpton made a fine running catch of a liner off the bat of Chase Compton. With two out, Frederick doubled and Bourque singled to cut the lead to 6-4. Almann Snowden walked to move the tying run into scoring position. Catcher Chris Sinclair then hit a long fly ball to center but Bentley raced back and made a leaping catch, saving two runs and keeping the score at 6-4.
The Cajuns got to reliever Blake Schlechte (3-2) in the seventh when Jace Conrad was hit by a pitch with one out. After Butler popped up, Compton singled and Tyler Girouard hit his first career homer, a three-run shot to give Louisiana the lead 7-6.
The lead was short lived however, as Zimmerman (0-3) walked Parma to lead off the eighth and Burk launched his two run homer to left to put UALR back in front 8-7 and added a run later in the inning off Derek Howell, the fourth Cajuns pitcher, on two walks, an error and a fielder’s choice to give the Trojans a 9-7 lead.
The run proved to be important as Bourque got his third hit of the game to lead off the eighth. After lefthander Marshall Hamrick struck out Snowden for the first out, Bryson Thionnet came in from shortstop to get pinch hitter Logan Preston to ground out to second base, moving Bourque into scoring position. Brian Bowman then delivered a two-out single to make the score 9-8. But Thionnet got Jace Conrad to pop up to end the eighth and retired the side in order in the ninth to get his third save of the season.
The Trojans got the lead runner on base in six of eight innings and scored runs in four of those innings. Of the nine walks and three hit batsmen, five came in to score.
The Cajuns had ten hits, marking the sixth time in eight games they have had double digit hits.
Louisiana will not have a mid-week game this week due to final exams. They will be back in action next Friday when Troy comes to M. L. “Tigue” Moore Field for a three game series with game one starting at 6pm.