After losing the first game 5-4, the Arkansas-Pine Bluff baseball team bounced back to pick up its first win of the season, splitting a doubleheader with Prairie View A&M with a 3-0 win in the second game at Torii Hunter Baseball Complex on Saturday.
“It feels great,” UAPB senior Mikey Ramirez said. “I think it feels great for everyone.
“It was a good team win.”
Ramirez pitched 7 1/3 shutout innings in the second game, as the Lions (1-10, 1-1 SWAC) snapped their 10-game losing streak.
“I thought Mikey pitched a great game,” UAPB head coach Carlos James said. “… He did a great job of keeping them off the bag and keeping them off-balance.
“Hopefully we can use this win as some momentum (for today’s game).”
Ramirez (1-2) allowed just six hits with seven strikeouts and no walks. Senior Redmond Floyd picked up the save after pitching 1 1/3 innings and striking out two of the four batters he faced.
“(Ramirez) is lights out,” James said. “… He gives us a lot of confidence and I’m looking forward to seeing him next week against Southern.”
James said after Saturday’s performance, Ramirez will move to the Game 1 starter for the Lions.
“I will do whatever the team needs me to do,” Ramirez said. “Still got to go out there and pitch.”
Prairie View A&M falls to 3-7 overall and 1-1 in the conference.
UAPB scored all three of its runs in the bottom of the sixth.
“We finally put a few hits in a row,” James said.
Senior Mike Wieland led off the sixth inning with a triple to center field. He scored on an RBI single by Rashawn Tillman. An error by Prairie View’s first baseman allowed Andre Davis to reach and put runners at first and second.
That’s when James did something a little unorthodox.
With two runners on and their four-hole hitter at the plate, James called for a sacrifice bunt.
“We don’t care,” James said. “We are just trying to score runs. At that point, our offense had been anemic, especially after the first game.
“… He’s our four-hole hitter, but we also have last year’s player of the year hitting behind him.
“So lets just bunt him here and give Isias (Alcantar) a chance to drive them in.”
The sacrifice bunt by Campbell was successful as it moved Tillman and Davis to second and third with only one out. Tillman later scored on a passed ball and junior Joshua Cassidy plated Davis on a sacrifice fly.
It gave Ramirez all the room he needed.
“I just threw a lot of strikes and got ahead of a lot of hitters,” Ramirez said. “I just put the ball in play and let the defense work.”
Ramirez went back out in the top of the seventh. A single by Walter Wells on one out and a two-out double by Colby Hines put runners on second and third – bringing the tying run to the plate.
Ramirez struck the batter out, ending the threat.
“Wieland called a great game,” Ramirez said. “I think I shook him once.
“We were pretty much on the same page the whole day.”
A.J. Helms took the loss for the Panthers after pitching six innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits with two walks and four strikeouts.
Tillman led the Lions at the plate, finishing the day with one hit in three trips with a run and an RBI.
In the first game, UAPB nearly rallied from a three-run deficit as they scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth but ultimately lost 5-4.
Prairie View senior Dominiq Harris hit a three-run home run in the top of the first – finishing 3 for 5 with four RBIs – and the Panthers never trailed the rest of the game.
UAPB senior Kyle Schwartz took the loss for the Lions. He went 8 2/3 innings, allowing five runs (all earned) on nine hits with three strikeouts.
A&M senior Jonathan Mata is credited with the win. He pitched seven innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits with nine strikeouts. Jordan Stewart picked up the save for the Panthers.
Campbell led UAPB at the plate, finishing 2 for 4 with a run scored. Cassidy was 1 for 4 with two RBIs in the loss.
Golden Lions Notes
Today’s game has been moved up to a 10 a.m. start due to the rain forecast to hit Pine Bluff in the afternoon. … UAPB is back on the road next week with a two-game series against Southeast Missouri in Cape Girardeau, Mo., and a three-game series with Southern in Baton Rouge, La. … Isias Alcantar, last year’s SWAC Player of the Year, finished the doubleheader with just one hit in six appearances.