Ole Miss (13-2) jumped out to a 6-0 lead after two innings, but the Trojans pulled within two on a three-run home run from Bryson Thionnet in the fourth. The Trojans would get back within two in the fifth but couldn’t get any closer.
The Ole Miss first inning started innocently enough with Ethan Schlechte retiring the first two he faced before Austin Anderson’s sinking liner found the outfield grass. Will Allen followed with a double. Then a walk was followed by back-to-back two-RBI hits Preston Overbey and Brantley Bell. After another walk Errol Robinson singled to right to make it 5-0 Ole Miss.
The Rebels used a couple more two-out hits to plate their sixth run in the second inning before Chad Bradford relieved Schlechte and got out of the jam.
The Trojans mounted their own rally in the fourth. Ben Crumpton led off with a single and was followed by Austin Pfeiffer with another single. With one out Crumpton scored from second on an infield single from Justin Steelmon to make it 6-1. Thionnet then blasted an 0-1 pitch over the left-field fence for a three-run home run to bring UALR within two at 6-4.
Ole Miss answered with a run of its own in the bottom of the fourth when Allen hit his second double to make it 7-4.
For the second straight inning Crumpton reached base and was able to come around to score. This time the senior was driven in by Tanner Rockwell’s double to left center to make it 7-5 Ole Miss. But once again the Rebels scored in the bottom of the frame to push their lead back out to three at 8-5 after five.
The Trojans threatened in the sixth, but the inning came to an end on a check-swing strike three on Crumpton. Mitchell Scheuler helped Bradford put a zero on the board by catching Anderson’s drive to right centerfield just before crashing into the fence.
In the bottom of the seventh the Rebels struck again with an RBI single from Will Jamison to push the lead out to four at 9-5. The Trojans turned to Sam Thoele with one out and runners on the corners. On Thoele’s first pitch Ole Miss executed a safety squeeze to make it 10-5. The 11th run came around to score when Braxton Lee reached on an infield single to score Jamison. Thoele was able to strike out Allen with the bases loaded, but the three runs gave Ole Miss an 11-5 lead.
A night after combining for three runs on 10 hits UALR and Ole Miss posted 16 runs on 25 hits with each team eclipsing last night’s combined total.
Schlechte (1-1) took the loss going 1.2 innings allowing six runs on eight hits. Bradford worked 4.2 innings in relief allowing five runs on five hits while striking out three. Thoele pitched 0.2 innings with a strike out. Josh Merrill pitched the eighth and faced just three batters thanks to a double play on a fly out to centerfield and an 8-6-4 putout at second.
Thionnet went 1-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs. Steelmon went 2-for-4 with a RBI and a walk. Rockwell also added two hits, one a double and two RBIs. Crumpton had a hit and scored twice moving him into a tie for fourth in school history in runs scored with 102. Pfeiffer, Drew Merten and Hayden Martin each added singles for the Trojans.
The series finale will be played Sunday at 1:30 p.m. at Swayze Field. The Trojans will be looking to avoid a sweep. UALR will be back home on Wednesday when it hosts UAPB at 6:00 p.m. at Gary Hogan Field.
(Courtesy: UALR Sports Information)
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