by Andy Robertson
The UCA baseball team improved its winning streak, sweeping the Lamar University Cardinals on March 14-15.
Senior infielder Nate Ferrell said the team knew the series would be a challenge.
“Playing in the Southland, you know every conference game is going to be a tough one, and you have to show up every day,” he said.
Because of rain March 13, the game was moved to March 15 as one half of a doubleheader.
The Bears (11-3, 6-0 Southland Conference) beat the Cardinals (7-8, 0-3 SLC) 8-4 behind a strong outing from junior pitcher Connor Gilmore.
Gilmore improved his record to 2-2, giving up four runs, one earned, on six hits and six and two-thirds innings pitched.
He walked four batters and struck out two.
LU senior pitcher Danny Fernandez lost his second game of the season, giving up five runs, four earned, on five hits in five and two-thirds innings pitched.
UCA junior outfielder Tyler Langley led the Bears offense, knocking in two RBIs on one hit in his two official at-bats.
He also walked twice. The Bears won the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader 4-2.
Junior pitcher Brandon Hagerla remains undefeated after giving up two earned runs on six hits in eight and one-third innings pitched.
Junior pitcher Bo Stitch earned his first save of the season, striking out the only batter he faced.
LU senior pitcher Chase Angelle took the loss, giving up four runs, one earned on eight hits in six and one-third innings.
The Bears completed the three-game sweep with an 8-0 win over the Cardinals in game two of the doubleheader behind a six-run second inning.
UCA sophomore infielder Joey Pinney led off the inning with a groundout to the pitcher, and then junior infielder Matt Anderson singled up the middle before junior infielder Logan Preston hit a two-run home run to left field, bringing the score to 2-0.
Senior outfielder Wesley Hoover grounded out to second before Langley singled up the middle and junior outfielder Braxton Phillips and junior second baseman Chris Townsend walked.
Ferrell doubled down the left field line, scoring Phillips and Langley. Townsend advanced to third.
Cardinals starting pitcher freshman Eric Foshee was replaced by senior pitcher Derek Wade.
Bears junior catcher/infielder Travis Hull hit an RBI single, scoring Townsend and bringing the score to 6-0.
Pinney singled to center before Anderson flew out to right center field to end the inning.
UCA collected six runs on six hits in the inning.
The Bears scored the game’s final two runs in the bottom of the third inning.
Preston led the inning with a fly out to left center field before Hoover got an infield single to first base. Hoover stole second, then Langley walked.
Phillips grounded out to the shortstop, advancing Langley and Hoover one base.
Townsend followed up the out with a single to right center field, bringing Langley and Hoover home.
Farrell went 2-for-5 in the game, recording two RBIs. Townsend, Hull and Preston also knocked in two RBIs each.
The Bears had eight runs on 13 hits.
Sophomore pitcher Riley Echols and junior pitcher Andrew Kemmerer combined for the eight-hit shutout.
Foshee was the losing pitcher, giving up six runs on five hits in one and two thirds innings of work.
Echols pitched seven innings, giving up seven hits and striking out five batters, while Kemmerer gave up one hit and struck out one batter in two innings of work.
Townsend said the team did well despite Friday’s weather, which helped the team’s momentum for the rest of the series.
“I think we performed very well this weekend,” he said. “Friday we had to battle the weather, but we grinded it out, and that set a tone for the rest of the series.”
The Bears traveled to Stillwater, Oklahoma, yesterday to face the Oklahoma State University Cowboys.
The Bears will conclude their four-game road trip with a three-game series against the Houston Baptist University Huskies on March 20-22 in Houston, Texas.