FAYETTEVILLE -- The Arkansas Razorbacks dominated an exhibition baseball game at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock last fall.
It was a much different outcome when the Trojans visited Baum-Walker Stadium on Tuesday night.
UALR beat the No. 9 Razorbacks 17-7 before an announced crowd 3,193.
When the teams played 14 innings in the fall, the University of Arkansas won 16-3.
"It's one that your program talks about maybe for years to come," Trojans Coach Chris Curry said of the victory's significance. "I'm happy for our players. I'm happy for how hard they played."
Troy Alexander hit a grand slam off Kole Ramage to give UALR a 7-6 lead in the fifth inning after Arkansas scored four runs to take a 6-3 lead in the third.
"[They] punched us in the mouth right after we had scored three," Curry said. "It would have been very easy to say, 'Well, here we go again.' But T.J. Alexander has the at-bat of the night with two strikes and hits a grand slam."
Alexander fouled off three consecutive 1-2 pitches before hitting his sixth home run of the season -- and the first grand slam allowed by Arkansas this season.
"It was a change-up down the middle," Alexander said. "He left it up."Gallery: UA Baseball - Arkansas vs UALR
The Trojans had 16 hits and 6 walks against 8 Arkansas pitchers. Six of their runs were unearned thanks to four errors committed by the Razorbacks.
"We didn't give ourselves a chance to win," Arkansas Coach Dave Van Horn said. "We made mistake after mistake in the field.
"We booted a double-play ball. We don't hit the cutoff man from left field, and the guy gets to walk in from second base. We kick a ball at short. We made some critical errors.
"But really what we did, we pitched behind all night. A lot of 2-0 counts and 3-1 counts. They were in really good hitters counts, and they took advantage of it and swung the bats well and put together a couple of big innings.
"Right now we don't have the pitching depth."
UALR got a strong relief pitching performance from Ethan Daily, who allowed 1 run, 3 hits, 1 walk and had 7 strikeouts over the final 5 innings.
Daily, a senior left-hander, came into the game with an 11.77 earned run average. He had allowed 17 earned runs in 13 games.
"He's a stuff guy," Curry said. "He throws hard. It's a 90 to 93 [miles per hour] left-handed fastball. It's a low- to mid-80s slider.
"But he's just struggled throwing the ball over the plate at times in the past. A lot of that has to do with his emotions, and we just challenged him after his last outing at Mississippi State -- which was disappointing -- that you need to compete, and that means be OK with whether you give up a hit or you strike them out.
"But throw it over the plate and make the hitter do something. I felt like he just challenged the hitters tonight and it went in our gloves."
Arkansas loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the fifth against Ty Gordon, but Daily came in and didn't allow the Razorbacks to score as he struck out Casey Martin, got Heston Kjerstad on a flyout to shallow left field and got Dominic Fletcher on a groundout.
"You're born for moments like this," Daily said. "Your dad plays catch with you in the yard telling you, 'Hey, man you're going to be big-time one day.'
"I used to look at the game as this big ordeal, but now I'm just trying to take it pitch to pitch."
The Trojans added five runs in the seventh inning -- with the help of two Arkansas errors and Alexander's double -- to push their lead to 12-6 and didn't let up.
"This is historic, it's big time," Alexander said of winning the first baseball game played between Arkansas and UALR. "We'd been struggling early on, but we've finally come together as a team.
"It's definitely something to build on. That's for sure."
Curry was an Arkansas assistant coach for Van Horn.
"I know it's big for him," Alexander said of winning for Curry. "We did this for him. It means more to him than it does to us. So I'm glad we could do it for him." The Razorbacks scheduled UALR -- ending a long-standing Arkansas policy of not playing in-state schools -- because Van Horn pushed for it.
Curry said Van Horn was gracious after the game.
"He said, 'Good game, good job. I'm happy for you,' " Curry said. "Class all the way."
With both teams having conference series this weekend -- Arkansas at Auburn and UALR at Texas-Arlington -- neither team used its top pitchers.
"I think it's indicative of being a midweek game," Curry said. "Both teams are saving bullpens. Some of their better arms didn't throw. We knew that. On a Tuesday night in college baseball, this can happen.
"But I won't understate it for our players. From where this program was five years ago when we took it over to now being able to compete n this stage -- and tonight not only compete but win -- I think speaks volumes for our players."
NO. 9 ARKANSAS
AT NO. 15 AUBURN
WHEN 6:30 p.m. Central Thursday
WHERE Plainsman Park, Auburn, Ala.
RECORDS Arkansas 22-7, 6-3 SEC; Auburn 22-7, 6-3
RADIO Razorbacks Sports Network statewide network. Not all games will be carried by all affiliates. Check local listings.
SHORT HOPS Arkansas left 14 runners on base to match its season high. … Razorbacks first baseman Trevor Ezell batted leadoff for the first time this season and went 3 for 5. It was his first three-hit game since Feb. 27 against Memphis. … Shortstop Casey Martin, who had been batting leadoff, batted second and Heston Kjerstad moved from second to third in the order. … Arkansas had lost three consecutive games for the first time this season.
THE WEEK AHEAD
THURSDAY at Auburn*, 6:30 p.m.
FRIDAY at Auburn8, 6 p.m.
SATURDAY at Auburn*, 2 p.m.
TUESDAY vs. Oral Roberts, 6:30 p.m.
Sports on 04/03/2019
Print Headline: In-state beatdown: Grand slam sparks Trojans’ pasting of Hogs