CONWAY, AR - Sophomore catcher Brandon Montalvo hit a sharp walk-off single to right field with one out in the ninth inning to score Scott Zimmerle with the game-winning run in the University of Central Arkansas’ 4-3 victory over Arkansas State on Tuesday night at Bear Stadium.
The Bears (22-15) won their fifth straight game by overcoming a 3-0 deficit, scoring the final four runs of the game. Zimmerle led off the ninth inning with a double down the right-field line and moved to third on Justin Treece’s sacrifice bunt. After pinch hitter Matt Anderson walked, Montalvo got his second hit of the night with the walk-off drive to right.
UCA evened the season series with ASU at 1-1 and broke the Red Wolves’ six-game winning streak, despite striking out a season-high 15 times. The Bears made the most of their seven hits, however, scoring their first run in the fourth inning on Treece’s RBI single that brought in Chris Townsend. UCA tied it with a two-run seventh inning. Treece singled and Montalvo doubled to the left-field corner and both scored on senior Doug Votolato’s two-run base hit that made it 3-3.
Bears’ junior right hander Josh Markel, in his first start and longest outing of the season, went seven innings, allowing 8 hits and 2 earned runs while striking out 5 and walking just 1. Senior Jon Rand relieved in the seventh and struck out ASU’s leading hitter Matt Burgess. Redshirt freshman Bo Stitch (2-0) then entered and went the rest of the way, throwing 1 2/3 innings of hitless ball, striking out three.
ASU junior left hander Chandler Hawkins struck out a career-high 10 batters in five innings. Tyler Zuber threw three innings, striking out five more, while Cody Woodhouse (2-1) came in to start the ninth inning and was saddled with the loss.
Votolato finished 2 for 4 with 2 RBI, while Treece and Montalvo both had 2 hits and an RBI for UCA. Eric Wilcoxson and Austin Baker had two hits each for ASU.
UCA faces another in-state foe, UALR, at 6 p.m. Wednesday night. The Bears won the first meeting with the Trojans 5-4 in 11 innings back on April 2.