Senior pitcher stays strong in final season, grateful for coach

UCA senior pitcher Bryce Biggerstaff has known head coach Allen Gum since his days at Central Arkansas Christian High School five years ago.

Biggerstaff played for Gum at Southern Arkansas University before transferring to UCA after the 2010 season, the same year UCA hired Gum away from SAU.

The right-hander from Sherwood didn’t receive a Division I offer despite being an all-state selection three different years for CAC.

“I had very few offers period coming out of high school,” Biggerstaff said. “I liked coach Gum and that’s why I decided to go to SAU.”

Biggerstaff had a 3.50 earned run average for the Bears in 2012 after sitting out the 2011 season due to NCAA transfer rules.

His season was highlighted by his six innings against Southeastern Conference opponent Ole Miss, in which he held the Rebels to just one run on two hits with three strikeouts.

He earned a more prominent role in UCA’s pitching rotation in 2013, starting 18 games as the Sunday pitcher.

He finished with a 3.01 ERA and threw four complete games last year for the Bears.

Louisville Slugger named Biggerstaff the national player of the week after throwing the second no-hitter in UCA history against Jackson State University on Feb. 24, 2013.

“It was a great accomplishment for me,” he said. “It’s something that I will always be able to look back on and remember.”

Biggerstaff is UCA’s Friday night starter and has a 2-2 record and a 3.28 ERA in six games this year.

He is tied for the team lead in strikeouts with sophomore pitcher Connor Gilmore at 27.

The Bears are 15-10 overall and 5-4 in the Southland Conference after dropping the series to Stephen F. Austin State University last weekend.

“Switching from Sundays to Fridays was a little bit of an adjustment at first”, Biggerstaff said. “I got to look at hitters more and had to wait longer on Sundays, but overall it’s not too much different. “

Biggerstaff talked about the team’s 2014 season.

“It has gone well, we struggled a little bit at first but we’re still trying to figure it all out,” he said. “We’ll know more about our team in the next few weekends. We’re a very talented team and we’ll go as far as we set our mind to.”

Biggerstaff said he doesn’t like to take it easy on hitters, and he prefers a challenge off the field as well.

He is a double major in finance and insurance and risk management.

He talked about what his plans are after he leaves UCA.

“I just plan to get a job anywhere I can,” he said. “Doesn’t really matter who it is, just whoever will hire me.”

Five years ago, every Division 1 institution in college baseball overlooked Biggerstaff.

Now, he is the pitcher relied on the most for a team that finished last season ranked in the top 25 in all of college baseball.

If the past is any indication, Biggerstaff will find a way to have success in his life outside of baseball as well.

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