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Texas State's Austin O'Neal (far right) and Tyler Pearson (No. 16) were two of five seniors to play their final home game Sunday afternoon.

College Baseball: Texas State drops series, falls 3-2 to UALR

O'Neal, Pearson shine in loss to Trojans

By JOE VOZZELLI
Daily Record Sports

Sometimes, the standings do lie.

Texas State and UALR entered this weekend’s three-game series on complete opposite sides of the Sun Belt Conference. The Bobcats sat in a tie for second place, while the Trojans were in last place. Given its record, UALR seemed like easy pickings for a team as hot as Texas State.

As the series played out, however, it soon became clear that the Trojans' record was deceptive.

“That’s a much better team than their place,” head coach Ty Harrington said after UALR's 3-2 victory over the Bobcats Sunday afternoon on Senior Day inside Bobcat Ballpark. “I’ve been in this business for a long time and that’s a pretty good baseball team.”

With the loss, Texas State (28-23, 11-6 SBC) dropped two of three games against the Trojans, who are fighting to be among the Top 8 teams that reach the SBC Tournament later this month.

“They played with a vengeance to them,” Harrington said. “They played hard. We didn’t have much offense all weekend.”

Aside from Saturday’s eight-walk debacle for UALR, the visitors frustrated Bobcat hitters throughout most of the weekend slate. During Sunday’s tilt, that role belonged to Cameron Allen, who limited Texas State to two hits to go with a walk and two earned runs.

“He (Allen) was using his off-speed pitches to get over for strikes and threw his fastball inside,” senior first baseman Austin O’Neal said. “We had a hard time barreling those pitches up.”

The Trojan junior actually had a perfect game going through four innings before Granger Studdard painfully broke it up. The freshman took a fastball to the right knee to lead off the fifth inning.

One batter later, O’Neal ended Allen’s no hitter with an RBI double to tie the game at 1-all. Tyler Pearson followed with a single.

“When we stayed back and hit the ball up the middle, we had some success,” O’Neal said. “He threw a pitch out over the plate and I hit it into the gap.”

Neither O’Neal nor Pearson scored as Cody Lovejoy grounded into a double play. Allen retired Trey Hicks for the final out of the frame on yet another ground ball, one of 11 such outs for UALR’s right-hander.

The Bobcats simply didn’t have many chances to score as they were set down in order seven times Sunday afternoon.

That fact made Lucas Humpal’s margin of error slim. Humpal matched Allen pitch-for-pitch until the middle innings when he was hurt by two solo home runs. Bryson Thionnet launched a fifth-inning shot off the batter’s eye in center field and Austin Pfeiffer rode a pitch out to right center for a lead-off homer in the sixth.

Humpal scattered seven hits and one walk across six innings. The right-hander struck out six.

Andrew Boes, who came in for Humpal in the seventh, kept his team within striking distance by setting down all six batters he faced, including five consecutive Trojans via the strikeout.

Trailing 3-1, the Bobcats threatened in the eighth after Pearson was hit by a pitch and Lovejoy walked.

Pinch-hitter Colby Targun brought Pearson home on an RBI groundout to cut the hosts’ deficit to 3-2. But Cory Geisler beat a Dyllon Brownmiller pitch into the ground for the final out as UALR second baseman Ben Crumpton collected the ball and threw it to first base.

“I thought it was going to be a big inning for us,” Pearson said of the eighth frame. “But we only got that one run. It should have been a better inning for us but it didn’t turn out like we needed it to.”

Texas State returns to the field Tuesday night at Texas.

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