The Arkansas-Pine Bluff baseball team was happy to see another conference opponent as it defeated Alcorn State 13-1 on Tuesday at the Torii Hunter Baseball Complex.
“We do well in conference,” UAPB head coach Carlos James said. “We have our problems out of conference.
“We are a good SWAC team, so we have some good SWAC hitters. Out of conference, we are not as good.”
UAPB (15-25, 8-7 SWAC) is coming off a three-game sweep to Samford, including a 17-9 loss on Sunday. Tuesday’s game did not count toward SWAC standings because UAPB and Alcorn State play in opposite divisions.
“On Sunday, we actually swung the bats pretty well against Samford,” Jones said. “We tied the game up three times, we just couldn’t hold them. At the end, they were just better than we were.”
On Tuesday, UAPB tallied 14 hits and scored at least one run in every inning except for the first and second.
The Golden Lions’ biggest inning came in the bottom of the eighth. Eric Alcantara was hit by a pitch to start the inning and later scored on an error at first base allowed Rafael Soto to advance all the way to third.
Soto scored on an RBI single by Warren Stehn, and Mike Ludwig capped off the inning with a two-run home run over the left field fence.
“I was pleased with what they did today,” Jones said. “Anytime you put 13 runs, you got to be happy about that.
“Hopefully that gets us ready for the weekend and down the stretch.”
UAPB also scored three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning.
A bases-loaded walk to Patrick Phillips forced in a run and a two-run single by Dylan Calhoun scored Dwayne Hysmith and Stehn, who reached on a pair of walks.
Alcorn State (11-33, 11-7 SWAC) scored a run in the sixth inning off a sacrifice fly from Ryant Piper. The fly ball plated Justin Barney, who was hit by a pitch to start the inning. Barney moved to second and then to third on a stolen base and an error.
UAPB got on the board in the third inning when Isias Alcantar hit an RBI single to plate Cody De Mera from second. The Golden Lions also scored two run in the fourth and two runs in the sixth.
UAPB senior Stanten Jones earns the victory after pitching 5 1/3 innings. He allowed one unearned run on three hits with five strikeouts.
“We played really good defense today,” Jones said. “I was pleased with that. The pitching rebounded from this weekend.”
Monday was a scheduled day off for the Golden Lions, but when Jones came to the field, he found his pitching staff having an impromptu game of football.
“They were just kind of relaxing and today they did a really good job,” Jones said. “I was pleased with that.”
Junior Humberto Zavala pitched two-thirds of an inning and gave up just one walk. Junior Grant Glass pitched an inning and allowed just one walk with a strikeout.
Junior Mikey Ramirez closed out the final two innings and allowed just one hit with one strikeout.
“To be honest, we pitched horribly this weekend,” Jones said. “I was glad to see these guys bounce back.”
For Alcorn State, Mundo Sanchez takes the loss after allowing an earned run on three hits with one walk. Zach Muenster gave up seven runs on four hits in just two innings of work. He also had three walks and two strikeouts.
Phillips led UAPB at the plate, finishing 3 for 4 with three hits, one RBI and a walk. Kirby Campbell was 2 for 3 with a run scored. Ludwig was 2 for 2 with two RBIs and a run scored.
Calhoun was 1 for 3 with three RBIs.
Nobody for Alcorn State had multiple hits.
UAPB will host Texas Southern this weekend in a three-game series beginning with a doubleheader at noon Saturday. Currently, the Golden Lions are tied for second with Prairie View, but if UAPB can this weekend’s series, it has a chance at first place in the division because Southern is 12-9 in the SWAC.
“I believe our magic number is three to get into the tournament, and that’s all we are working on now,” Jones said. “If we so happen to win the West trying to get into the tournament, then fine.
“In order for us to make it to the (NCAA) regionals, you got to win the tournament. That’s what it boils down to.”