None of Tuesday’s “mojo” was able to carry over into Wednesday as the Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions fell 6-3 to the Murray State Racers in the second game of a two-game series at the Torii Hunter Baseball Complex.
“You have to not have days, when you just walk out on the field, and say ‘Hey, we beat them yesterday, it will happen again today,” UAPB head coach Carlos James said. “You got to come out with some intensity and some enthusiasm.
“You want to win, want to keep the streak going and you want to keep the momentum going into the weekend.”
A three-run inning by Murray State in the top of the sixth stretched the Racers’ lead to 5-1 and it was enough to secure the victory.
Brandon Eggenschwiler led off the inning with a single and Mike Kozlowski followed with a walk to put runners at first and second with nobody out.
Two outs later, catcher Dalton West hit a two-run single to give Murray State the 4-1 lead. West later scored on an error by the UAPB shortstop.
“If we want to build a good program, we can not take days off,” James said. “Or sit around and wait for somebody on the team to spark something.”
UAPB (18-27, 10-8 SWAC) took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Kirby Campbell hit an infield single to plate Tyler Oertle from third with one out.
The Golden Lions would leave the bases loaded though as the next two batters flew out and struck out. UAPB left seven runners on base.
“That is what you call a lack of winning maturity level,” James said. “Winning teams know when to seize the moment. When the bases are loaded, you got to score two or three more runs because now you have that team on the ropes.
“But after we gave up those three runs, you had a team that was back in it and was ready to play.”
Trailing 5-1 in the bottom of the sixth, UAPB showed signs of the “mojo” working again when Mike Wieland reached on a dropped third strike.
After a single by Campbell, Patrick Phillips hit a two-run double to cut Murray State’s lead to 5-3. Warren Stehn reached on an error but Cody De Mera hit into a double play to end the inning.
“There are probably three points in a game, when you are going to have that momentum swing,” James said. “It is either going to go for you or against you, and every time today it went against us.
“We allowed some of the things to go against us, that all we had to do is be a little bit more mentally focused.”
Campbell finished the game 2 for 4 with a run scored and one RBI.
Junior Didier Landry took the loss for UAPB after pitching five innings and allowing four runs (two earned) on four hits with four strikeouts and two walks.
“I thought he did a good job, and he pitched well enough to win today,” James said. “I think this was his longest outing of the year.
“He’s getting better.”
Landry had a bit of a setback before the season after breaking his ankle, so James said “it was good to see him go five innings.”
For Murray State, Alex Gordon was credited with the win after pitching 5 1/3 innings. He allowed just three runs (all earned) on seven hits with no walks and six strikeouts.
West finished 2 for 4 with two RBIs and a run scored while Eggenschwiler finished 2 for 4 with one RBI and a run scored.
UAPB is scheduled for a four-game series with Prairie View A&M beginning this weekend in Prairie View, Texas.