A dominating and record-setting performance on the mound by senior Connor Gilmore carried the University of Central Arkansas Bears to an easy 11-0 victory over the Houston Baptist Huskies in Southland Conference action on Thursday night at Bear Stadium.
Gilmore, a righthander from Little Rock Catholic, set the UCA school record for career victories with his 22nd, allowing just four singles and striking out four, with no walks, in the complete-game victory. He is also tied for first in school history with 12 complete games.
"Coming out here and performing to the best of my ability, if a record is to happen, so be it,’ said Gilmore, who is 22-9 in his four-year career at UCA. "That’s just icing on the cake. I’m coming out here and trying to get my team a win, trying to get a better start into a weekend (series). To be honest, I’ve been struggling. Not so much struggling, but just giving up some big innings, and those big innings can cost you.
"I just tried to throw up some zeroes tonight.’
The Bears (10-10, 4-3), who broke a four-game losing streak, got the only run they would need in the bottom of the first inning. Ty Tice reached on a fielder’s choice and eventually came around to score on Logan Preston’s double down the left-field line for a 1-0 lead. UCA added two more runs in the third inning on just one hit. Tyler Langley was hit by a pitch, Tice had an infield single and Brandon Montalvo was also hit by a pitch to load the bases.
Preston drew a walk to make it 2-0 and William Hancock reached on a fielder’s choice, allowing Tice to score. Meanwhile, Gilmore was cruising along, setting the Huskies down in order in the first, second, fourth, fifth and seventh innings.
UCA scored seven more runs in the eighth inning. Tice walked to score the first run and Montalvo brought in the second with a sacrifice fly. Hancock’s base hit to right scored both Tice and Langley and forced another pitching change for the Huskies (10-12, 2-2). Justin McCarty greeted reliever Weston Wick with a two-run double to the gap in left center to make it a 10-0 lead. Matt Anderson then singled in the final run.
HBU pinch hitter David Bloodworth singled to lead off the ninth and worked his way to third before Gilmore struck out pinch-hitter Carey Jones and got yet another pinch-hitter Zach Carter to fly out to left to end it.
HBU pitchers walked five and hit six batters, including Langley three times. Tice finished 2 for 4 with two RBI and three runs scored. Preston went two for two with two RBI and one run scored, while Hancock went 1 for 5 with three RBI and one run scored. Anderson was 2 for 5 with one RBI and one run scored and McCarty went 1 for 5 with two RBI and a run scored.