After having their season-opening series postponed one day because of inclement weather and reduced to a doubleheader, the UAFS Diamond Lions let out their frustrations on the Henderson State Reddies on Sunday.
UAFS scored 11 runs and collected 19 hits in sweeping Henderson State (0-6) at Arkadelphia. The Diamond Lions (2-0) won the opening game 4-3 and took the second game 7-3. It’s the first 2-0 start for UAFS since joining NCAA Division II five seasons ago.
Junior Jordan Cordray won his UAFS debut in the opening game, working 4 2/3 innings. The right-hander, who is a transfer from Labette Community College, allowed three earned runs on three hits with four walks before giving way to reliever Jordan Hammer with two outs in the fifth inning.
Hammer allowed one hit and one walk and struck out one in 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief to earn the save.
Right fielder Connor Brackhahn was 1 for 3 with two RBI to lead the Reddies, who left eight runners on base. Second baseman A.J. Kruzel was 1 for 4 with one RBI, and Hunter Mayall was 1 for 3 with one RBI.
UAFS collected eight hits off two Henderson State pitchers. Starter John Luthe (0-2) suffered the loss, allowing three earned runs on five hits with four walks in only 2 2/3 innings. Reliever Colton Lorance allowed one earned run on three hits with three strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings.
Third baseman Ryan Justus was 2 for 4 with one RBI, first baseman Brennan Rogers was 2 for 4 with a double, center fielder Curtis Clark was 1 for 3 with one RBI, designated hitter J.C. Baxley was 1 for 2, catcher Justin Shealy was 1 for 3 and shortstop Mitch Huckabay was 1 for 4 with a double.
UAFS left seven runners on base.
With the Diamond Lions leading 3-2 after three innings, Justus ripped a two-out single to drive in Huckabay, who belted a two-out double down the right-field line, for what turned into the game-winning run.
Trailing 3-2 after three innings in the second game, the Diamond Lions’ bats came alive, scoring five unanswered runs to rally for the sweep.
UAFS tied the game at three runs in the top of the fourth inning. Left fielder Kasey Cooper led off the inning with single to center field and stole second. Cooper advanced to third on a groundout back to the pitcher by second baseman Ryan Gros. Cooper scored on a sacrifice bunt by Clark.
The Diamond Lions took the lead for good with two runs in the sixth. Gros drew a two-out walk from Reddies reliever Jay Hawley and advanced to second on a wild pitch and moved to third on another wild pitch.
Gros scored what was the game-winning run on a single by Clark. Clark stole second and advanced to third when shortstop Ozzie Hurt reached on an error. Clark scored on a single by catcher Justin Shealy for a 5-3 lead.
Clark, who batted in the ninth spot, capped his hot-hitting performance with a two-run double to center field in the seventh.
UAFS pounded out 11 hits against three Henderson State pitchers. Starter Jordan Wright allowed three earned runs on five hits with one walk and four strikeouts in four innings but earned a no-decision. Hawley (0-1) suffered the loss, allowing two runs – one earned – on three hits with one walk and one strikeout in two innings.
Chris Hunt, who was the last of the Reddies’ three pitchers, allowed two earned runs on three hits with one walk in one inning.
Clark was 2 for 3 with four RBI and a double to lead the Diamond Lions, who left 10 runners on base. Cooper was 2 for 3, right fielder Koby Chadick was 2 for 4, Shealy was 1 for 5 with one RBI, Gros was 1 for 3 with one RBI, Justus was 1 for 4, Rogers was 1 for 3 and designated hitter Bryce Neal was 1 for 1.
UAFS starter Wayde Roth allowed three earned runs on five hits with one walk and two strikeouts in three innings to earn a no-decision. Reliever Darrin Pittman (1-0) earned the win, allowing no runs on just two hits with five strikeouts in four innings.
Reddies designated hitter Andy Kovarik was 3 for 3, third baseman Matt Evans was 1 for 3 with a double and one RBI and second baseman Jared Aschbrenner was 1 for 3 with a double.