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Trojans close out Louisiana trip with 7-4 win over Southern

Little Rock came out aggressive from the get-go, plating three runs in the bottom of the first to race out to the 3-0 lead.
Credit: Little Rock Athletics

THIBODAUX, La. — Little Rock's bats came alive early, then a dominant pitching performance by Cole Evans out of the bullpen shut Southern down as the Trojans earn the 7-4 win over the Jaguars at Ray E. Didier Field. Little Rock improves to 6-2 on the year and closes out its time at the Louisiana Bayou Cajun Mardi Gras Classic with a 3-1 mark.
 
Entering the game with one out in the fifth and the bases loaded, Evans notched back-to-back strikeouts to get the Trojans out of a jam, sparking an impressive performance out of the bullpen. Evans retired all 14 Jaguar batters he faced over 4.2 innings, striking out six and earning the win, the first of his Trojan career.
 
Little Rock came out aggressive from the get-go, plating three runs in the bottom of the first to race out to the 3-0 lead. With the bases loaded and no outs,, Tucker Childers drew a walk, bringing Nathan Lyons home for the first run of the game.
 
Miguel Soto hit into a double play, but it was able to bring Garrett Scott home from third. That was followed by a double to left center by Kobe Barnum, plating Childers to give Little Rock the early 3-0 leaad.
 
That was quickly answered in the top of the second, however, as Southern scored three times, two of which came off an RBI triple. The Trojans responded in the bottom of the second with a pair of runs of their own, taking the lead for good at 5-3. Back-to-back RBI singles by Jorden Hussein and Lyons did the damage.
 
Little Rock added another run in the bottom of the fourth as Scott picked up an RBI, singling through the left side with runners at the corners to bring Hussein home as the Trojans doubled up the Jaguars 6-3 after four.
 
In the fifth, Southern loaded the bases with just the one out, scoring its lone run on a pickoff attempt by Kale Emshoff to third on a throw that went awry, bringing a Jaguar home. But the back-to-back Ks from Evans ended the threat as those would be the final baserunners Southern had all afternoon.
 
Little Rock added an insurance run in the sixth as Emshoff made good on his error in the fifth, knocking a single up the middle with runners at first and third, allowing Lyons to score to make it 7-4. Evans then shut down the Jaguars over the final three innings to preserve the win.
 
The Trojans finished with 12 hits on the day, four of which came from Lyons who finished with an RBI and a pair of runs scored. Emshoff went 3-for-4 with an RBI while Scott was the other Trojan with multiple hits, going 2-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored. Hussein was 1-for-3 with a pair of runs on the afternoon.
 
Freshman Erik McKnight earned his first career start against the Jaguars and allowed four runs (three earned) with five hits and a pair of strikeouts in 4.1 innings pitched to earn the no decision. After the struggles in the second, he retired seven of the next nine Jaguar batters he saw to allow the Trojans extend their lead.
 
Little Rock's six game road trip now shifts to Stillwater, Oklahoma, where the Trojans will get set for a pair of midweek games against Oklahoma State at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium on Tuesday, February 25 and Wednesday, February 26. First pitch against the Cowboys will be at 4 p.m. both days.