The new NCAA-mandated bats did very little to slow down the University of Central Arkansas baseball team Saturday as the Bears blasted Southern Illinois University Edwardsville 14-4 at Bear Stadium.
One day after winning their season opener with just three hits, the Bears (2-0) pounded out 14 against four SIUE pitchers in front of a crowd of 447. Ethan Harris was 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored. Greg Noble hit a grand slam in a six-run sixth inning as the Bears broke open a scoreless pitcher’s duel.
UCA starter Clint Green battled SIUE starter Spencer Patton for five scoreless innings before UCA rallied. Green, a sophomore right-hander from Little Rock, allowed one hit and struck out one in six innings of work and got the victory. Patton allowed a single hit and struck out eight over five innings.
The Bears rallied for six runs off the combination of relievers Luke Ingersoll and Tony Schaeffer in the sixth inning. Michael Pair led off with a solo home run to left. After the Cougars recorded one out, Zack Dickson singled through the left side of the infield and advanced to second on Harris’ base hit to left. Bryan Willson walked to load the bases and Jonathan Houston walked to force in the second run.
Schaeffer came in and struck out Kyle Prevett for the second out but then Noble launched an 0-1 pitch over the right-field fence for a 6-0 UCA lead.
The Cougars (0-2) came back with four runs in the top of the seventh but UCA answered with another four in the bottom of the frame for a 10-4 lead. Pair started it again with a walk and Blake Roberts doubled down the left-field line. Dickson singled to left and advanced to second on an error on SIUE’s left fielder, allowing Roberts and Pair to score.
Harris doubled to right to score Dickson and then advanced to third on a balk. Willson singled to score Harris, but was thrown out at second base.
Willson moved from third base to the mound in the seventh inning and went two innings before sophomore John Kordsmeier came on and pitched a hitless ninth inning.
Pair finished 2-for-4 with two RBI and three runs scored, while Roberts was 2-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored. Dickson went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI.
The Cougars had only four hits and no one had more than one.
The teams will conclude the series at 1 p.m. today.