From the Sun Belt Conference
After two double-digit games to begin the tournament, spectators probably didn't expect a pitcher's duel in the night cap, but that's what they got as No. 21 Troy fell 4-2 in 10 innings to UALR.
Troy's Tyler Ray allowed just two runs in 7.1 innings and his counterpart for UALR, Travis Henke, tossed 8.0 innings with two earned on seven hits. Both took no decisions.
In a game that was originally scheduled for 7 pm, then delayed to 8:30 by extra-innings action in the first two tournament games of the day, Troy (40-17) waited until the middle innings to get its bats going and the late innings to tie.
UALR took a 2-0 lead on the back of a pair of solo homers in the first three innings. The first by Jake Rowell to lead off the second inning, and then another solo shot by Greg Garcia with one out in the third.
Troy cut the deficit in half with a solo home run by Tyler Hannah to start the fourth inning. The homer, his sixth, made it 2-1 in favor of UALR after four.
Both teams went scoreless until Troy was able to execute a near-perfect hit-and-run with T.J. Rivera on first and Todd McRae at the plate. As Rivera sprinted toward second base, McRae slapped a ground ball into the newly opened hole at second.
McRae reached as UALR's second baseman Jason Houston was unable to get the ball in time and Rivera sped all the way to third to put runners on the corners with no outs for Troy. The next batter, Boone Shear, came through with a single off the leaping glove of shortstop Greg Garcia to plate Rivera and tie the game. Troy went on to strand McRae at third base.
UALR used consecutive singles to put in motion a go-ahead eighth inning. After Casey McCollum and Cameron Bentley reached on base hits, Garcia bunted the pair into scoring position.
Troy head coach Bobby Pierce went to reliever Nate Hill with the left-handed batter Myles Parma at the plate. Parma tried a squeeze, but Hill pounced off the mound to grab the ball and throw home to nail McCollum at the plate for the second out. Hill then got Jason Houston to ground out and end the inning with the score still tied.
Ray was once again denied his 12th win of the season. He took his third straight no decision after tossing seven-plus innings. He tied a season high with three walks and struck out five.
Ray's five strikeouts moved him into eighth place on Troy's all-time list with 179. Henke struck out seven batters and limited Troy to seven hits and two runs over 8.0 innings to put UALR in a position to win.
Hill struck out the side in the ninth to give Troy a walk-off chance in the bottom half. Rivera started the inning with a single, then McRae walked to put two-on with no outs. Shear sacrificed the runners into scoring position and then Logan Pierce was intentionally walked to load the bases for designated hitter Blake Martz.
Martz struck out to make it two away for the Trojans, then pinch-hitter Josh McDorman was retired on fly ball to center sending the game to extra innings still tied at two.
Garcia put UALR up 3-2 with his 10th inning single. His base hit scored McCollum, who had reached on a single and moved to second on a wild pitch by Hill. UALR pushed the lead to 4-2 on an RBI single by Parma.
Hill dropped to 5-2 with the loss. He allowed three hits and two runs in 2.2 innings. He struck out four with no walks.
UALR senior Garret Graziano (5-9) worked a scoreless bottom half of the tenth to cap off the win. The Oklahoma City, Okla.-native allowed just one hit and a walk to Troy over the final 2.0 innings.
The Trojans got a base hit from Hannah in the 10th, but were unable to score.
Hannah led the way for Troy with three hits and an RBI. Garcia was 2-for-4 with two RBI for UALR.
The loss marked the second time since 1995 that the lowest seed defeated the top seed in the opening round of the Sun Belt tournament (WKU 10, ULL 7 – 2005).