UCA Softball Sweeps Awards

A pair of Bears’ seniors have been awarded the Southland Conference’s Player of the Week awards.
Conway, AR – During a week in which the Central Arkansas softball team celebrated senior day, it seems only fitting that a pair of Bears’ seniors have been awarded the Southland Conference’s Player of the Week awards. Catcher Melanie Bryant earned the honor thanks to some late-game heroics and pitcher Kelsie Armstrong simply continued to do what she has done all season long. This marks the third time this season that Central Arkansas has swept the weekly awards.

Bryant, a native of Hernando, Mississippi, led a Central Arkansas offense that tallied 18 runs in four games as the Bears went 3-1 on the week. She led the team in batting average, doubles, home runs, and RBI, driving in the game-winning runs in two of the Bears’ victories. In the second game of a double-header against Lamar on Saturday, Bryant came to the plate in the fifth inning with score tied at 5-5 and one runner on base. She promptly broke the tie, launching her eighth homer of the season to score both herself and second baseman Melissa Bryant and put the Bears up 7-5, a score which would prove to be final. On Sunday, when the Bears honored their seniors as they took the field for the final time in Conway, Bryant came up huge again. The Central Arkansas career leader in home runs added another one to her career mark, blasting a no-doubt grand slam over the left-center field fence to give the Bears a walk-off 7-5 victory. The slam locked up not only the game, but also the three-game sweep for the Bears, who are battling for seeding in the upcoming Southland Conference tournament. This is the second time this season that Bryant has earned Player of the Week honors.

Armstrong’s performance this week wasn’t quite as eye-catching as Bryant’s, but it was as solid as Central Arkansas fans have come to expect from the righty from Hot Springs, Arkansas. She went 3-1 with an ERA of 1.30 on the week, holding opposing batters to an average of .212. She collected all three victories in the Bears’ sweep of Lamar. In the series, Armstrong allowed only two earned runs and struck out 23 batters in 21 innings. In the second game of Saturday’s twinbill, Armstrong became the first Central Arkansas pitcher to record 1,000 career strikeouts. This is the twelfth time this season that the Southland has issued weekly awards and, astoundingly, the sixth time that Armstrong has been honored.

The sweep locked up a place for the Bears in the Southland Conference tournament and the Bears will look to move up in the standings with a three game set at Texas-A&M Corpus Christi this weekend. The teams will play a double header beginning at 1:00 on Saturday afternoon and a single game on Sunday.
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