After Tuesday’s win over Murray State, Arkansas-Pine Bluff head coach Carlos James has decided to adopt the phrase “Monte Mojo” for his baseball squad.
“I guess it is the new UAPB motto that Monte (Coleman) and them started in football,” James said. “Wait till the last minute, something happens and — boom — we win.
“I’ll take it.”
A walk to UAPB’s Jacob Whitney forced in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth as the Golden Lions defeated non-conference opponent Murray State 8-7 at the Torii Hunter Baseball Complex.
“We will take an ugly win over a pretty loss any day,” James said. “When you are building a program, you hope for these days when things start to go your way.”
James said the same thing when UAPB rallied to defeat Texas Southern in bottom of the ninth on Saturday.
“Those kind of games used to go against UAPB,” James said. “Now that is beginning to go for us.”
UAPB (18-26, 10-8 SWAC) trailed Murray State 7-5 heading into the bottom of the ninth.
After Mike Ludwig was hit-by-a-pitch to begin the inning, Cody De Mera and Tyler Oertle reached on a single and a walk to load the bases with nobody out.
That’s when the “mojo” took over.
A balk by Murray State (17-27) pitcher Andrew Bramley forced in one run, and because the ball went past the catcher, Oertle was able to score on the play as well to tie the game 7-7.
“On a balk call, the ball is live and the offensive team gets the result of the play,” James said. “That means we get a chance to play it.
“In that case, we had two runs score because of a passed ball, so we took the result of the play.”
With the game tied and still nobody out, Murray State intentionally walked Isias Alcantar to put runners at first and second. After a strikeout by Mike Wieland, Warren Stehn singled to load the bases.
Whitney was issued his second walk of the game to force in the go-ahead run.
“We got down and we kept fighting and now things are beginning to bounce our way,” James said.
Senior Stanten Jones takes the win after pitching two innings and allowing just one hit with four strikeouts and one walk.
“That’s what you expect out of your senior,” James said. “We have been using him mostly as a situational guy he has gotten some starts.
“He was the most experienced guy out of the ‘pen today. Being down, he could keep (Murray State) there. He did exactly what we thought he would.”
James said he hopes Jones’ senior leadership might come in handy later down the road.
“On May 19, he might have something to do with a championship, you never know,” James said.
Bramley was tagged with the loss for Murray State after facing just three batters and giving up three runs (all earned) on one hit with one walk.
UAPB got within one run after Wieland hit an RBI single in the bottom of the fifth. The Golden Lions also scored two runs in the first, one run in the fourth and one run in the seventh.
The run in the seventh was also unusual.
De Mera led off with a walk and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Oertle. He scored thanks to an error on an attempted pick off attempt.
De Mera was headed towards third when Murray State’s Brandon Elliott missed the throw by the pitcher and it sailed behind him, allowing De Mera to score.
Murray State scored two runs in the first, three in the fourth and two in the seventh.
For UAPB, De Mera finished 2 for 4 with two runs and a walk. Oertle scored three times and walked twice. Kirby Campbell finished 2 for 3 with one RBI and a run scored.
Stehn was 2 for 5 with a RBI and Dylan Calhoun was 2 for 2 with a walk.
For Murray State, Rick Linton was 3 for 3 with two runs scored, and Noah Zipko was 2 for 4 with two runs and two RBIs.
Murray State and UAPB will conclude the mid-week series today at 1 p.m.
“I’m going to try to rest a lot of guys up for the weekend,” James said. “I’m going to play a lot of the reserves and rest some starters.”
UAPB has a four-game series with Prairie View A&M this weekend in Houston, Texas. If the Golden Lions, can win three out of four, they could be crowned conference champions.
UAPB just needs one more conference win to make it to the SWAC Tournament.
“So what we are going to do is rest some guys so we can be fresh for the weekend,” James said.
Stanten Jones was named the SWAC Pitcher of the Week after leading UAPB to a 3-1 record over last week. In four appearances, he threw 7 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts and one walk. He gave up four hits and one unearned run. … Dwayne Hysmith continues to struggle at the plate as his batting average drops to .201. In the last four games, he has managed just one hit. … The win over Murray State is UAPB’s first in non-conference since defeating Jarvis Christian on April 2.