The University of Central Arkansas Bears got timely hitting and another solid performance from a pair of pitchers to down the Eastern Illinois Panthers 5-1 in nonconference action Friday at Bear Stadium.

Evan Cox, a 6-foot, 200-pound senior righthander from Maumelle, threw six innings, striking out six and allowing one earned run for his first victory. Junior righthander Blake Payne, from Victoria, Texas, went the final three innings, allowing two hits, no runs and striking out two. The same duo combined to beat Southern Illinois Edwardsville 5-4 in last Friday’s opener.

Jonathan Houston was 2-for-3 with two runs scored for the Bears (4-0), while Bryan Wilson was 2-for-4 and also scored twice. Shawn Ferguson and Jacob Reese combined for four of EIU’s five hits. 

The teams will meet again at 4 p.m. today and close out the series at 1 p.m. Sunday.