UALR earned a huge 5-2 win over Arkansas State behind a solid performance on the mound by Travis McDonald and an all-around effort by Tanner Rockwell.
Rockwell led the Trojans (24-28, 10-18 SBC) at the plate going 3-for-3 with a home run and picked up the save. Meanwhile, McDonald earned the win holding the Red Wolves (29-24, 17-11 SBC) to two runs, just one earned in 7.1 innings.
After a rain delay of over an hour ASU didn’t wait long to take the lead. McDonaldretired the first two batters he faced before hitting Tanner Ring and allowing Matt Burgess to hit a run-scoring double to give ASU a 1-0 lead.
The Trojans got on the board in the second as Rockwellled off with a double before coming around to score on an infield single by Drew Merten.
UALR grabbed the lead with a two-run lead when Rockwell came through again. The junior crushed an 0-1 pitch for a home run to plate Ben Crumptonand give the Trojans a 3-1 lead headed to the fifth.
McDonald worked into trouble in the top of the fifth allowing a bunt single before hitting Dustin Jones and walking Zach Maggio to load the bases. But the senior was able to strand the bases loaded with a strikeout of Austin Baker and escape the inning without allowing a run.
Crumpton started the bottom of the sixth with a double and moved up on Bryson Thionnet’s sacrifice bunt. He later came around to score on a sacrifice fly by Justin Steelmon to give the team a 4-1 lead.
The Red Wolves pulled closer in the top of the eighth. Baker reached base on a dropped fly ball in left field and scored on a single by Burgess to make it 4-2 and end McDonald’s night. In his final start at Gary Hogan Field, the senior threw 7.1 innings allowing two runs—one earned—on five hits and struck out three.
Dyllon Brownmillercame on in relief and got two of the next three batters out to strand Burgess and keep the Trojans on top.
Then in the bottom of the eighth, UALR tacked on an insurance run with four straight singles from Crumpton and Rockwell got theirs to the outfield before Thionnet reached on a bunt single. Steelmon drove in the run with a chopper just over the pitcher’s head and beat the throw from the shortstop. However, ASU was able to get out of the inning without any more damage.
After Brownmiller allowed the first two batters of the ninth to reach the Trojans turned to their do-it-all star of the night. Rockwell got Maggio to pop out and struck out baker before getting Ring to ground out to first to end the game.
Crumpton had two hits and scored three times while Austin Pfeifferalso collected two hits and stole two bases. Steelmon had two RBI’s while Merten produced another. Rockwell collected his seventh home run and seventh save of the season.
The Trojans will look to clinch the series win tomorrow and move closer to earning a bid to the Sun Belt Conference Tournament when they host the Red Wolves again on Friday with first pitch at 6:00 p.m. The regular season finale will be on Saturday when the two teams wrap up the series at 1:00 p.m.