CONWAY, AR – Junior shortstop Logan Preston hit a solo home run on his birthday Tuesday night to lead the University of Central Arkansas Bears to a 2-1 victory over the UALR Trojans at Gary Hogan Field.
Preston’s ninth home run of the season and put him atop the Southland Conference and tied the game at 1-1 in the fifth inning. UCA (25-21) added an insurance run in the eighth to earn the season sweep over the Trojans.
The Trojans (15-31) took a 1-0 lead in the second inning off UCA starter Riley Echols, who went three innings and struck out 4 and allowed just 3 hits. Junior Derek Beier (3-1) got the victory out of the bullpen, tossing two innings of hitless ball, striking out four.
In the fifth inning, Preston launched a one-out home run over the left field fence to tie the game. UCA, which left nine runners on base, threatened again in the sixth but left two on. In the eighth, the Bears loaded the bases against UALR reliever Brandon Mason and a wild pitch to Preston allowed Chris Townsend to score the go-ahead run. UCA left the bases loaded in that inning.
Freshman Chris Durham of Collierville, Tenn., came on in the eighth and faced just seven batters over the final two innings to earn his first save.
Senior left fielder Wesley Hoover finished 2 for 4 for the Bears, while junior catcher Travis Hull and junior first baseman Matt Anderson were also 2 for 4. UCA’s combination of four pitchers, Echols, Bo Stitch, Beier and Durham, held the Trojans to just five hits, including two from Hayden Martin.
UCA returns to SLC play this weekend, hosting McNeese State in the final series of the regular season. The series begins at 6 p.m. Thursday at Bear Stasdium. Senior Day is set for 1 p.m. Saturday.