A 31-win season for the University of Arkansas-Little Rock came to a crashing conclusion Friday at Mtn Dew Ballpark as the Trojans finished two wins shy of a first NCAA regional appearance since 2011.
The UALR lost twice Friday in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament, falling 3-2 to first seed Morehead State before No. 5 seed Eastern Illinois defeated the Trojans 5-1 for second place. spot in today’s title game in Marion, Ill.
“I’m really disappointed like the rest of the players,” said UALR coach Chris Curry. “We really set our goals on a championship and we still think this team is talented enough to win a championship. It just didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to.”
UALR (31-23) nearly clinched the Ohio Valley championship with a late rally in Game 1. Fueled by Hoss Brewer’s best start to the season — 2 earned runs allowed on 5 hits in 7 innings — the Trojans trailed 2-0 in the eighth lead against Morehead State.
Nico Baumbach and Skyler Treviño led off the inning with singles. After Andrew Pickering and Christian Bernabe followed with back-to-back strikeouts, Ty Rhoades was walked to load the bases.
Jake Wright then delivered for UALR, clipping a single to third base and shortstop to score Treviño and Baumbach before being ejected between first and second.
A 1-2-3 eighth by Trojan reliever Jacob Weatherley set up the ninth, which began with a walk to Alex Seguine and Tyler Williams’ single to center field.
Luke Pectol’s groundout moved Williams to second, putting runners on second and third with only one out. But UALR couldn’t break the 2-2 tie.
Treviño grounded out to second, allowing the Eagles to eliminate the potential go-ahead runner at home, and Andrew Pickering grounded out to shortstop, ending the threat.
In the tenth, Morehead State (36-19) loaded the bases with two outs before Jackson Feltner’s RBI single sent UALR into the losers bracket.
Things never got better for the Trojans in their second game.
Eastern Illinois started the top of the first with their first five batters reaching base safely, four of them on hits. UALR trailed 3–0 before he came to the plate, and the Trojans’ only run came on Rhoades’ two-out single to left field, scoring Treviño.
The Panthers added to their lead with unearned runs in the third and eighth innings as UALR managed just three hits in the final six innings.
Camden Sargent suffered his first loss of the season, lasting 2 innings and allowing 4 runs on 6 hits.
“This one hurts right now,” Curry said. “With every player that has eligibility remaining, it’s really promising for 2024.” … This team never gave up, this team fought until the last moment, and I know for a fact that we’re going to continue that.”