CONWAY, AR - The third consecutive extra-inning game between the University of Central Arkansas and UALR finally went in the Bears’ favor Wednesday night as they downed the Trojans 5-4 in 11 innings at Bear Stadium.
The Bears, who had lost five straight to the Trojans, got a lead-off walk in the 11th inning from Tyler Langley, one of 11 base on balls issued by a combination of 10 UALR pitchers. Doug Votolato’s sacrifice bunt moved him to second base before Chris Townsend walked.
Nate Ferrell then hit a one-out fly ball to center field that the UALR center fielder dropped, allowing Langley to slide in with the winning run and end a game that lasted 3:50 and saw both head coaches ejected during a heated 10th inning.
UCA junior Connor McClain pitched the final three innings for the Bears, allowing no hits, no runs and striking out four to improve to 4-1 on the season. The Bears made the most of their five hits and four hit by pitches, but left 11 runners on base, hitting into bases-loaded double plays to end both the third and fourth innings.
UALR (11-15) took a 2-0 lead in the third inning off UCA starter Riley Echols on a line-drive home run to left field by leadoff batter Ben Crumpton. The Trojans pushed the lead to 4-0 with a pair of runs in the top of the sixth, but the Bears answered with two runs on an RBI ground out by Brandon Montalvo and a throwing error by UALR.
UCA tied it in the eighth as Nate Ferrell had an infield single and eventually scored on an error on UALR pitcher Ethan Schlechte, and pinch hitter Clint Dowdle added an RBI single that scored Justin Treece.
McClain struck out two in the ninth and UCA left two runners on base in the frame to send it to extra innings. After McClain got the Trojans in order again in the 10th, UCA’s Dowdle was hit by a pitch with one out in the bottom of the 10th which brought on the argument, a long delay and the eventual ejections.
Bo Stitch, Connor Gilmore and McClain held the Trojans to one hit, no runs and struck out six over the final 5 2/3 innings. Crumpton led the UALR offense, going 3 for 5. Tanner Rockwell (0-2), who started in right field, took the loss in two innings of relief.
UCA returns to Southland Conference action at home this weekend, hosting Southeastern Louisiana. The series begins at 6 p.m. Friday.
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