Lions chalk up first nonconference wins

Arkansas-Pine Bluff scored six runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to rally from a 2-0 deficit and defeat Jarvis Christian (Texas) 6-2 in a shortened Game 2 of a doubleheader on Tuesday at the Torii Hunter Baseball Complex.

“They came back,” UAPB head coach Carlos James said. “It took us one inning. But they still got the resiliency to say, ‘You know what, we aren’t going to lose.’

“We came back and won the game and I got to be pleased with a win.”

It capped off a two-game sweep as UAPB won the first 8-3. It marked the first time this season the Golden Lions have won a nonconference game.

“Those are good. Wins are always good,” James said. “And next year I’ll probably do better at scheduling some nonconference wins.

“But obviously, those nonconference games that we have played has helped us in conference.”

After Rashawn Tillman led off the bottom of the sixth inning with an infield single, pinch hitter Mike Wieland hit a single and Joshua Cassidy was hit-by-a-pitch to load the bases with nobody out.

Pinch hitter Isias Alcantar hit a two-run single up the middle to tie the game. An error by the first baseman allowed Jordan Haas to reach safely and load the bases.

Jerimiah Figueroa walked to force in the go-ahead run, giving UAPB a 3-2 lead.

The Lions (14-22) scored three more runs in the inning thanks to an error and a sacrifice fly by Mitch Bruckshaw.

Relief pitcher Samuel Olson earned his second win of the season. He pitched two innings and allowed four hits. Starter Felix Baez Pool allowed two runs (none earned) on three hits with three walks and five strikeouts in three innings.

“I was pleased with Felix and the way he threw here in game two,” James said. “He had three really good innings.”

Jarvis Christian (28-15) starter Marlon McDaniel pitched five shutout innings, scattering five hits with one strikeout.

“The kid did a good job,” James said. “But in that game, we were trying to get some guys who normally don’t get playing time, get some playing time.

“We wanted to keep some guys motivated and keep them sharp.”

The Bulldogs scored both of their runs in the second inning. Taylor Mowatt hit a ground ball to second but it took a bad hop and allowed two runners to score. A third runner would have scored, but a good play at the plate by backup catcher Eddie Martinez prevented the run.

“I like the way Eddie caught the ball behind the plate,” James said. “He did a good job of blocking the plate, to prevent the runner from scoring.”

Kirby Campbell led UAPB with three hits in three trips and Alcantar had a hit, a run and two RBIs.

For Jarvis, Javion Randle and Ernie Aguilera had three hits each.

In the first game, UAPB scored three runs in the second, one in the fourth, two in the sixth and two in the seventh. They tallied 10 hits and left eight runners on base.

Jaron Gold pitched three innings of relief to pick up his first win of the season. He allowed two runs (both earned) on two hits with three strikeouts. Starter Skyler Henson allowed one run (earned) on three hits with one strikeout.

“I was pleased with some of the guys we normally don’t use for them to get some quality innings in,” James said.

Jackson Carroll allowed one earned run on two hits with a strikeout in three innings, suffering the loss.

Vladimir Gomez finished 2 for 4 with an RBI in the first game for UAPB. All nine starters for the Lions tallied at least one hit, including Alcantar who finished 1 for 4 with two RBIs.

UAPB will host Grambling State in a doubleheader beginning at noon Friday and in a single game at 1 p.m. Saturday.