LITTLE ROCK - Head coach Scott Norwood earned his 400th career victory as UALR (16-17, 5-9 SBC) took game two of its series against Louisiana (23-11, 7-7 SBC) by a 7-2 final on Saturday at Gary Hogan Field. The UALR offense put up 13 hits in the victory, led by junior Bryson Thionnet's 3-for-4 effort that included two doubles and a triple.
UALR's win on Saturday evens the series at a game apiece, setting the stage for Sunday's rubber match at 1 p.m.
Senior Blake Huffman picked up the win to improve to 4-2 on the season. Huffman got the start and gave up two runs on eight hits in 6.1 innings of work. Junior Dillon Moritz came on for Huffman in the seventh and gave up no runs on just one hit over the final 2.2 frames to earn his team-leading fifth save of the season.
Starter Ryan Wilson was dealt the loss for Louisiana after allowing four runs (three earned) on eight hits in 4.0 innings. Cord Cockrell came on in relief in the fifth and lasted 3.0 innings, allowing two runs on four hits before being pulled for Nick Zaunbrecher. Zaunbrecher lasted the final 1.0 inning for the Cajuns and allowed one run on one hit.
Thionnet added a pair of runs scored and was one of five Trojans to finish the day with multiple hits. Junior Ben Crumpton and seniors Blake Johnson, John Clark and David Guarno all put up two hits on the day. Guarno's day included his fourth homer of the season, a solo shot to left in the bottom of the eighth inning.
The Cajuns were able to take an early lead in their first set of at-bats. An RBI single by Seth Harrison plated Ryan Leonards, who reached base when he was hit by a pitch of Huffman's earlier in the inning. UALR was able to even the score in the bottom half of the frame, as an RBI single by senior Chris Burk plated Crumpton to tie the score at 1-all after an inning of play.
Consecutive doubles by Thionnet and Crumpton gave the Trojans their first lead of the series in the bottom of the second, and an RBI single by Guarno put UALR on top 3-1 in the bottom of the third. The Cajuns added a run on two hits in the top of the fourth to make it a one-run game. UALR provided an immediate answer, scoring a run on back-to-back doubles by Johnson and Clark to go up 4-2 in the bottom of the fifth.
After two scoreless innings from both teams, UALR put up three runs to build a 7-2 lead in the bottom of the eighth. Guarno led off the inning with a solo homer to left to put the Trojans up 5-2. A double to right by senior Myles Parma was followed by a triple off the bat of Thionnet. As Thionnet slid into third, UL shortstop Blake Trahan's throw went wide, allowing Thionnet to come home for UALR's third run of the inning.
UALR and UL will play game three of their series on Sunday at Gary Hogan Field. First pitch is set for 1 p.m., with Coudy Boutte (5-2, 5.21 ERA) set to start for the Cajuns. UALR's starter for Sunday is TBA.
Patrick Newton: Assistant Sports Information Director