Arkansas-Pine Bluff senior Mike Wieland hit an RBI single to right field in the bottom of the 10th inning to give the Golden Lions a 6-5 win over Arkansas-Little Rock Tuesday afternoon at the Torii Hunter Baseball Complex.
“At the end, I was just trying to battle and get something on the barrel,” Wieland said.
Wieland finished the game with just the one hit but accounted for four of UAPB’s five runs. He reached base five times thanks to three walks and three runs scored.
“I started off a little slow, working counts and trying to get on base,” Wieland said.
It was only his ninth RBI of the season.
“I was playing with him (after the game),” head coach Carlos James said. “Telling him that was his only RBI of the year.
“But he did a great job. I believe that was their Friday night starter that came in. It was a lefty-on-lefty matchup, but he stayed in, and he got the hit that we needed to win.
“I’m proud of him.”
With one out and the game tied at 5, junior Mitch Bruckshaw hit a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jerimiah Figueroa. A walk to freshman Jordan Haas put runners at first and second with two outs.
On a 2-2 count, Wieland hit a flare to the right field to score Bruckshaw. It is only the third nonconference win for the Lions this season and the first time UAPB has defeated UALR in the last six tries.
“Arkansas won’t play us; this is the closest thing to Arkansas,” Haas said. “We showed that we could beat them. We can beat anybody now.”
UALR (16-22) defeated UAPB (17-23) 9-3 on March 13 at Gary Hogan Field in Little Rock.
“We came out with a lot more confidence,” Haas – who had just the one plate appearance – said. “Our pitching gave us a good came and our batting came around.
“We are hitting better now than we were at the beginning of the year.”
UAPB had a 5-4 lead heading into the top of the ninth. However with two outs, UAPB closer Kevin Walsh would walk three straight batters to force in the game-tying run.
“Those things happen,” James said. “One thing about it, it is a learning experience.
“… So it is good to see him go through some adversity now than wait until a tournament situation.”
After Dixon Marble walked the leadoff batter, Walsh came in and got the next batter to hit into a fielder’s choice. A sacrifice bunt by Austin Pfeiffer moved the runner to second.
Walsh – who picked up his seventh save on Saturday – would walk the next three. He struck out Sam Vogel to end the inning.
“I think going through that situation will help him,” James said. “When he got those two outs, he just kind of over-did it.
“One good thing about it, if he does get over-energized, we can bring Red (Floyd) in and close the game out.”
Floyd picked up his first win of the season thanks to a perfect top of the 10th.
“We want to be in regional tournament,” James said. “So every game from here on out, we have to play hard.
“We got behind, but we fought our way back like we have all year.”
UALR sent eight batters to the plate in the top of the first and took a 3-0 lead thanks to a pair of hits and two walks. UAPB got within one in the bottom of the third.
The Trojans scored one run in the top of the fifth to take 4-2 lead but the Lions answered with a run of their own in the bottom half.
UAPB took its first lead of the game thanks to two runs in the bottom of the seventh.
“We are used to coming from behind,” Haas said. “We know we can come from behind and win.”
Travis McDonald pitched 1 2/3 innings in the loss for UALR. He allowed one run (earned) on three hits with a walk and two strikeouts.
Andre Davis led UAPB at the plate, finishing 3 for 5 with an RBI. Isias Alcantar was 2 for 3 with a run scored.
“We always come out in the SWAC and compete,” Wieland said. “We have letdowns during the week, but I think we are really coming back and battling now and ready to play every day.”
UAPB is scheduled to host Pittsburgh for a three-game series beginning with a doubleheader on Sunday at the Torii Hunter Baseball Complex. Monday’s game is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. at Taylor Field.
“We play such good competition and a real hard schedule,” Wieland said. “It gives us an upper hand in (being) ready to play in the SWAC.”