In an offensive explosion through the middle innings of the game, the Bears piled on 14 runs against the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles (3-1) Wednesday afternoon with a final score of 14-6, giving the Bears their first win of the season.
After a duel of the pitchers, the top of the fourth inning proved to be the offensive catalyst for both teams. Tennessee Tech managed to start the top half of the inning with three runs, putting the Bears in a tough position as the bleeding stemmed heading into the bottom of the fourth.
Things started off hot in the inning for the Bears as senior left fielder Brandon Montalvo knocked a single into left center for a base hit. This was followed up by senior third baseman Logan Preston, who managed to move Montalvo into scoring position after lacing a single in shallow right field. Freshman designated hitter Cody Davenport managed to knock down another single to load the bases. Tennessee Tech’s starter Trevor Maloney let a pitch go wild to hit sophomore catcher Justin McCarty to bring Montalvo in getting the Bears on the board 3-1.
Freshman first baseman Hunter Strong kept the hot streak going for the Bears by putting up another single driving in Preston to bring the score to 3-2. Senior centerfielder Tyler Langley then laced a hit deep into the outfield to bring in the other two Bears left on base getting himself a double and bringing the score to 4-3.
The Bears would maintain the lead for the rest of the game scoring three runs in the fifth, another five in the sixth due to an impressive homer by Strong to drive in three. The Bear’s final two points came in the bottom of the seventh off of junior second baseman Lee Raley’s bat with a single up the middle that scored junior shortstop Butch Rea, who walked.
Tennessee Tech went through seven pitchers throughout the game after Tech pulled Maloney off the mound once Central Arkansas got hot.
Tech managed a short burst of retaliation against sophomore reliever Chris Durham in the top of the seventh. Durham, who got the win, was able to finish out the inning on a fly ball to right field. Durham came in for junior right-handed pitcher Hunter Neal and finished out 3.2 inning with six strikeouts and one walk. Durham gave up two earned runs and let junior right-handed pitcher Jacob Murray finish off the Golden Eagles with a perfect ninth inning.
Despite giving up three runs, Durham hit the mound as the Bears reliever in a tough situation and was able to hold Tech back to minimal damage.
“I went in there pitching for contact. Letting the defense work was what the team needed me to do and getting a couple of K’s in the process was nice,” Durham said.
The Bears had an impressive offensive showing with eight of nine Bears managing to get a hit. Strong wane 3-5 and finished with five RBIs. Montalvo went 4-6 scoring four runs and an RBI. Langley went 3-5 with two RBIs. Preston finished 2-3 on the day with two runs scored, while Davenport went 2-4 and McCarty went 1-3 with two RBIs and a run scored.
With an impressive showing from the Bears both offensively and defensively the mood in the dugout after the game was static with excitement and expectation heading into the weekend series.
“It was a huge first win today. It will have a big impact on momentum going into the weekend. We really got our bats going, but we still have work to do,” Langley said.
Central Arkansas will finish its eight-game stretch at home with a four-game series at home against Eastern Illinois starting at 6 p.m. on Friday. The Bears play a doubleheader at noon on Saturday leaving their series finale for 1 p.m. on Sunday.
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