MONROE, LA – The University of Central Arkansas Bears pounded out 13 hits, including a pair of home runs by Logan Preston, and opened the 2015 season with an 8-2 victory over the Grambling State Tigers on Friday afternoon at ULM’s Warhawk Field.
Preston, a junior shortstop, hit a solo home run in a three-run sixth inning, then added a two-run shot in the seventh inning to give the Bears an 8-0 lead. Junior first baseman Braxton Phillips, a transfer from Butte Community College, went 3 for 4 from the leadoff spot, including a pair of walks.
Junior righthander Connor Gilmore (1-0) cruised through six innings of work, allowing just four hits, striking out two and walking one.
The Bears took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Phillips singled up the middle, went to second on a ground out, moved to third on a passed ball and scored on Nate Ferrell’s fly ball to foul territory down the right-field line. UCA made it 3-0 in the fourth on designated hitter James Lacy’s sacrifice fly that scored Christ Townsend. Phillips then singled to left field to bring in Preston, who reached on an error.
Senior left fielder Wesley Hoover added a two-run single to Preston’s home run in the sixth inning. In the seventh, Townsend was hit by a pitch and Preston brought him in with his shot to left-center.
Senior Josh Markel replaced Gilmore in the seventh and set the Tigers down in order before allowing a pair of unearned runs in the eighth. Junior Bo Stitch pitched the ninth for the Bears.
Junior center fielder Tyler Langley finished 2 for 3 with a run scored, while Hoover had a pair of RBI. GSU managed eight hits, led by catcher Roger Siaz who went 3 for 4. Edwin Drexler went 2 for 4 and scored a run. Ike O’Bear allowed 6 runs, 4 earned, to take the loss.
UCA returns to action at 6 p.m. Saturday against the host Warhawks.