CONWAY, AR – Freshman lefthander Chris Durham made the most of his first start on the mound Friday night as the University of Central Arkansas Bears downed the McNeese State Cowboys 4-2 in Southland Conference action at Bear Stadium.
Durham, from Collierville, Tenn., pitched eight innings of shutout baseball, allowing just five hits and tying his career high with five strikeouts. Durham improved to 2-0 with some help from junior Bo Stitch, who pitched the ninth inning to earn his team-high fifth save, and second in as many nights.
The Bears (27-21, 16-14) took the series after winning Thursday’s opener and remain in sixth place in the SLC with one regular-season game remaining. The Bears and Cowboys will play their series finale at noon Saturday to avoid possible rain later in the day. UCA’s Senior Day activities will be held prior to the game.
UCA scored first in the bottom of the first on senior Brad Dillenberger’s RBI single that brought in senior Wesley Hoover. They made it 2-0 in the second on Hoover’s RBI single to center that scored senior Nick Rougeau. In the fifth inning, Hoover hit a one-out triple and scored on junior Chris Townsend’s base hit to right-center.
UCA got its final run in the seventh on Langley’s bunt that scored Matt Anderson.
The third-place Cowboys (31-23, 17-12) finally scored twice in the ninth inning with an RBI single from Lewis Guilbeau and a sacrifice fly from Matt Gallier. Stitch retired pinch hitter Billy Summers on a ground out to second base to end the game.
UCA out-hit McNeese 9-6, with Hoover, Dillenberger, Anderson and Rougeau getting two hits apiece. Connor Lloyd was 2 for 4 for the Cowboys.
Seven seniors will be honored Saturday, including Hoover, Rougeau, Dillenberger, Charles Deckard, Nate Ferrell, Josh Markel and Chris Caudle.