The UCA baseball team was handed its first loss of the season against the University of Memphis Tigers on Feb. 22 at home.
The Tigers (2-2) scored four runs in the fifth inning to boost past the Bears (3-1), eventually winning the game 5-2.
The Bears’ first run came in the first inning with a single to left field by senior infielder Nate Ferrell off Tigers senior pitcher Caleb Wallingford, allowing junior outfielder Braxton Phillips to score.
The Bears’ second run came from a failed pickoff in the bottom of the seventh, which brought junior outfielder Tyler Langley home. These were the only marks made by the Bears.
The Tigers tied up the game in the third inning, but the breaking point came in the fifth when the Tigers took the lead with an RBI single by senior catcher/first baseman Carter White, followed by a bases-loaded walk.
The Tigers brought in one of their final two runs when freshman infielder Brandon Montgomery reached on a fielder’s choice, scoring senior utility player Kane Barrow.
The Tigers got their final run of the game on a double steal by Montgomery, who stole second and senior infielder Tucker Tubbs, who stole home, making the score 5-1.
Junior Connor Gilmore, the Bears’ starting pitcher, allowed five runs in four innings, along with five walks, which he said contributed to the loss.
“One negative was walking five guys,” he said. “We did have runners in scoring position with less than two outs and didn’t execute. However, I put the outcome of the game on myself. I walked five guys and threw too many pitches, which allowed them to have a big inning and score four runs. I’m going to do my best to not let something like that happen again.”
Senior pitcher Chris Caudle said the game would have been much different with some timely hitting.
“Quite a few things could have happened to change the game,” he said. “If we could have had one less walk and capitalized on some hitting opportunities, then we would have had a completely different ballgame.”
Though the game ended with a loss, the Bears took away some positives. Caudle said the bullpen helped late in the game.
“[The bullpen] gave our hitters more opportunities for another plate appearance,” he said.
Both Caudle and Gilmore said Phillips was a standout player during the contest.
Gilmore said Phillips had two big hits in the game, one which led to a run.
He was also hit by a pitch.
Senior third baseman Nate Ferrell, who went two for five in the matchup with two singles, was also mentioned as a standout performer.
While the Tigers ended with five runs, the Bears allowed only five hits.
Because of inclement weather, UCA had two games canceled last week, including the second half of a doubleheader Sunday afternoon.
The Bears travel to Oxford, Mississippi, to face the University of Mississippi Rebels at 4 p.m. Feb. 25 before going to Springfield, Missouri, to play the Missouri State University Bears at 3 p.m. Feb. 27 to start a three-game series.
The University of Mississippi are ranked 23rd in the nation in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.