This date in Bryant athletic history: 2011

Hornets hammer out sweep of Charging Wildcats

EDITOR’S NOTE: In this time of COVID-19, with no sports action, will be posting past stories of Bryant athletics either posted on (from 2009 to the present) or published in the Bryant Times (from 1998 to 2008).

By Rob Patrick

Photos by Rick Nation

After hitting safely in seven of the Bryant Hornets’ first nine games, senior Chris Joiner had[more] hit a little snag. Going into Thursday’s night’s 7A/6A-Central Conference doubleheader against the North Little Rock Charging Wildcats, Joiner had managed just two hits in his last 20 at bats over seven games.

Chris Joiner slugs his first home run of the season. (Photo by Rick Nation)

To start the twinbill, he grounded out twice but, after getting a sacrifice bunt down in the fifth, he cracked a two-run single in a game-busting sixth then tore it up in game two with a two-run homer and a three-run double to help the Bryant Hornets sweep 10-2 and 12-2.

While Joiner was breaking through, Tyler Brown stayed hot. Brown came in with a seven-game hitting streak and proceeded to go 5 for 7 in the two games, while driving in five runs.

In all, the Hornets racked up 20 hits in the two games while taking advantage of 14 walks and four hit batsmen as they improved to 15-3 overall and 5-1 in league play.

Jordan Taylor scattered seven hits over seven innings to go the distance on the mound for the Hornets, finishing in style by retiring the last seven batters he faced. In the nightcap, Caleb Milam was one strike away from a five-inning one-hit shutout. North Little Rock managed a pair of runs in the top of the fifth but, in the bottom of the innings, the Hornets, who led 10-0 going into the frame, got those two runs back to make it a run-rule victory.

Jordan Taylor makes a play at short. (Photo by Rick Nation)

“We got some timely hits,” noted Hornets head coach Kirk Bock, “particularly in that second game. Lucas Castleberry got a big one in the first inning with Joiner. We just kind of sat on (the lead) after that but it was because their kid (pitcher Ty Schaller) was doing a good job, throwing the fastball and change-up.

“Chris did a tremendous job tonight,” he added.

“And both J.T. and Milam did excellent work,” the coach concluded. “You know, Milam’s a competitor. I like it. J.T., you never know what’s going on. He’s always the same, very even keel. But Milam, he gets a little fiery there. You can tell, he’s ready to go. He can smell it. He didn’t have a good feel for his change-up tonight so we were really going with fastball and slider. They got to him a little bit there at the end but we were sitting there with a 10-run lead and we said, ‘Let’s make them put it in play.’ And they did.”

Tyler Brown throws to first. (Photo by Rick Nation)

Milam, who had only walked five batters in 32 innings this season, only gave up a pair of passes in the fourth but, with runners at first and second ended the threat with one of his seven strikeouts.

Taylor, who had only walked five in 19 1/3 innings coming in, issued a pair as well while striking out four. Neither of those that walked came around to score.

Actually, Taylor’s even disposition served him well in the opener. On his fourth pitch of the game, Zach Ketchum cracked a solo homer to deep right-center. But Taylor retired the next two and, after a walk and a single, struck out Ryan Whitlock to keep it 1-0.

The Hornets got the run back in the bottom of the inning when Tyler Nelson laced a double to left-center, took third on a sacrifice bunt by Brown that was so well placed he got a single out of it. Taylor then delivered the run with a sacrifice fly.

After the right-hander worked around a one-out single in the top of the second, the Hornets took the lead. Josh Pultro was hit by a pitch then Bock called for a run and bunt play that Evan Jobe executed perfectly. Pultro was off with the pitch and Jobe placed his bunt towards the vacant second-base spot. Hayden Lessenberry lined a single to right-center to snap the tie.

Josh Pultro (Photo by Rick Nation)

The Hornets wouldn’t trail again the rest of the night.

Marcus Wilson ran for Lessenberry, the Bryant catcher, and swiped second and, with two down, Brown smacked a single to left to make it 4-1.

Brown was running from first on the first pitch to Taylor, who nearly knocked the ball out to the opposite field. The ball was played off the wall by Wesley Moore and the relay came in just in time to get Brown at the plate to end the inning.

North Little Rock threatened to cut into the lead in the third. Ryan Scott singled with one out then an error put runners at first and third. Brian Chastain drew a walk to load the bases but Taylor got a big out by working the fake-to-third, throw-to-first pickoff play, nailing Chastain for the second out of the inning. Whitlock they flew out to Pultro in center to end the inning.

But North Little Rock cut the lead to 4-2 in the fifth when Scott doubled and scored on a two-out single by Alex Gosser. After Gosser’s hit, however, the Wildcats were unable to get another batter on the bases the rest of the way.

The Hornets blew the game open in the bottom of the sixth. Lessenberry’s second hit, a double to left-center, instigated the uprising. Nelson was hit by a pitch then Brown walked to fill the sacks. Taylor walked to force in a run. Lefty Kris Kohlstedt, who had relieved starter Brooks Howard in the fifth to get out of a jam, gave way to Preston Oberling at that point but the new hurler walked in a run as well as Landon Pickett picked up the RBI, his team-high 21st in 18 games this season.

Caleb Milam was the winning pitcher in Game 2 Thursday. (Photo by Rick Nation)

With one out, Joiner shot a two-run single to center then Pultro doubled to make it 9-2.

Dillon Howell became the fourth Wildcats’ pitcher but, with two out, he issued walks to Lessenberry and Nelson to force in the final run.

In the nightcap, Milam set the stage by striking out the side in the first inning. In contrast, Schaller walked the first two he faced. Taylor sacrificed Nelson and Brown to second and third but they remained there with two out. Castleberry came to the plate and lined the first pitch he saw to right-center for a two-run single. And, on the very next pitch, Joiner put a jolt into it for his two-run blast to left.

In the second, the Hornets turned a nifty doubleplay to erase North Little Rock’s first base-runner, Gosser, who had singled to lead off the inning. By working a 1-2-3 third, Milam had faced the minimum to that point.

In turn, Schaller settled in and kept the Hornets from adding to the lead until the fourth when Pultro beat out an infield hit into the hole at short, stole second and took third on a passed ball. Schaller, with defensive help by Whitlock at third, retired the next two before issuing a four-pitch walk to Nelson. He got two strikes in on Brown but on a 1-2 pitch with Nelson going, Brown smacked a single to center to make it 5-0. And when Taylor delivered an RBI single, Schaller was pulled. Tyson Tackett relieved but issued consecutive walks to Pickett and Castleberry to force in a run. That brought up Joiner who cleared the bases with a shot to left for a double.

Landon Pickett takes a throw at first ahead of the arrival of North Little Rock's Zach Ketchum. (Photo by Rick Nation)

Needing three outs to end it, Milam struck out the first two in the top of the fifth. The count went to 3-2 on Jaleel Tyler who then plugged the gap in right-center and legged out a double, just North Little Rock’s second hit of the game. Kohlstedt traded places with him on the next pitch then scored on a single by Ketchum as the Wildcats avoided the run-rule loss.

For the time being.

Tackett singled as well but Scott lined to Joiner in left to retire side.

The Hornets finished off the win in the bottom of the inning. Jobe singled and Lessenberry walked, resulting in another pitching change. Scott came in from the outfield but immediately issued a free pass to Nelson to load the bases. The count went full to Brown before he sent everyone home with a two-run single up the middle.

The win, coupled with Little Rock Catholic’s split with Van Buren and Conway’s split with Russellville gave Bryant a two-game lead in the loss column in the league standings. They face a showdown at Conway on Thursday, April 14.


Game one

Charging Wildcats ab r h bi Hornets ab r h bi

Ketchum, dh 4 1 1 1 Nelson, ss 3 2 1 1

Tackett, cf 3 0 0 0 Brown, 3b 4 1 3 2

Scott, rf 3 1 2 0 Taylor, p 1 0 1 2

Gosser, c 2 0 1 1 Daniel, cr 0 1 0 0

Naylor, cr 0 0 0 0  Pickett, 1b 3 1 0 1

Chastain, 1b 2 0 1 0 Cross, dh 3 0 1 0

Whitlock, 3b 3 0 0 0 T.Green, pr 0 0 0 0

Howard, p-ss 3 0 1 0 Joiner, lf 3 1 1 2

Tyler, 2b 3 0 1 0 Pultro, cf 3 1 2 1

Oberling, ss-p 2 0 0 0 Jobe, rf 4 1 1 0

Kohlstedt, p 0 0 0 0 Lessenberry, c 3 0 2 1

Howell, p 0 0 0 0 Wilson, cr 0 2 0 0

Naylor, ph 1 0 0 0 Hurt, 2b 0 0 0 0

Moore, lf0000

Totals 27 2 7 2 Totals 27 10 12 10

North Little Rock 100 010 0 — 2

BRYANT 130 006 x — 10

E—Hurt, Chastain. DP—North Little Rock 1. LOB—North Little Rock 6, Bryant 10. 2B—Nelson, Taylor, Scott, Pultro. HR—Ketchum. SB—Wilson, Green. S—Joiner. SF—Taylor.

Pitching ip r er h bb so

North Little Rock

Howard (L) 4.1 4 4 9 1 1

Kohlstedt 0.2 4 4 1 2 1

Oberling 0.1 2 2 2 1 1

Howell 0.2 0 0 0 2 2


Taylor (W, 3-1) 7 2 2 7 2 4

HBP—Pultro, Cross (by Howard), Nelson (by Kohlstadt).


Game two

Charging Wildcats ab r h bi Hornets ab r h bi

Ketchum, dh 3 0 1 0 Nelson, 2b 1 2 0 0

Tackett, cf-p   2 0 1 0 Brown, 3b 3 2 2 3

Scott, rf-cf-p 3 0 0 0 Taylor, ss 2 1 1 1

Gosser, c 1 0 1 0 Pickett, 1b 1 1 0 0

Naylor, cr 0 0 0 0 Castleberry, dh 2 2 1 3

Chastain, 1b 2 0 0 0 Joiner, lf 3 1 2 5

Whitlock, 3b 2 0 0 0 Pultro, cf 2 1 1 0

Howard, ss 2 0 0 0 Jobe, rf 3 1 1 0

Tyler, 2b 2 1 1 0 Lessenberry, c 2 0 0 0

Kohlstedt, lf-rf 2 1 1 1 Daniel, cr 0 1 0 0

Schaller, p 0 0 0 0 Milam, p 0 0 0 0

Moore, lf 0 0 0 0

Totals 19 2 5 2 Totals 19 12 8 12

North Little Rock 000 02 — 2

BRYANT 400 62 — 12

No one out when game-ending run scored.

E—none. DP—Bryant 1. LOB—North Little Rock 4, Bryant 5. 2B—Joiner, Tyler, Kohlstedt. HR—Joiner. SB—Pickett, Pultro, Tackett. S—Taylor.

Pitching ip r er h bb so

North Little Rock

Schaller (L) 3.2 8 8 5 4 4

Tackett 0.1 4 4 2 3 1

Scott 0 0 0 1 1 0


Milam (W, 5-2) 5 2 2 4 2 7

HBP—Pultro (by Schaller). WP—Schaller, Tackett.

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