The University of Central Arkansas softball team overcame a 5-0 deficit Saturday to cap a brilliant weekend by sweeping a three-game series with Southland Conference favorite McNeese State

The Bears (10-9) rallied for the 7-6 win in nine innings, handing the 25th-ranked McNeese Cowgirls their first three-game sweep by a Southland Conference opponent since April 2011.

Trailing 5-0 after the first two innings, the Bears got a strong relief outing from freshman Rio Sanchez, who came out of the bullpen to limit the Cowgirls to one run.

The Bears forced extra innings by scoring the tying run on an error in the seventh.

McNeese got an RBI single from  Padyn Williams to take a 6-5 lead in the top of the ninth inning.

Kayla Crutchmer led off the frame with a walk before Kate Myers ripped a single up the middle. The pair would move up on a wild pitch following a flyout and Libby Morris ripped a a single through the right side to score Crutchmer and even the game at 6-6.

After McNeese chose to intentionally walk Kaylyn Shepherd for the second time in the game, pinch-hitter Ryan Holdiness worked a walk of her own to drive in Myers and give the Bears a 7-6 win.

The Bears won the series by sweeping a doubleheader Friday from the Cowgirls.

Central Arkansas took advantage of a seven-run third inning to open up the first game and withstood a furious rally in the top of the seventh to earn the 8-6 win.

Libby Morris was 3-for-3 with three RBI, while Kailla Searcy worked 6.2 innings for the win.

Rachel Haberman came in with the bases loaded and the tying run at second base and got a groundout to earn the save. 

In the nightcap, Sanchez allowed one run on four hits. The freshman picked up the complete game and had three strikeouts.

UCA baseball

At Lake Charles, La., senior Tyler Gray struck out 14 and allowed three hits in seven innings of work to lead the UCA baseball team (7-6) to a 6-1 victory over McNeese State in their Southland Conference opener.

Gray, a righthander from Fort Smith, tied the school record with 14 strikeouts Sophomore Mark Moyer tossed the final two innings, recording two more strikeouts and completing the three-hitter for the Bears .

The Cowboys (2-11, 0-1) had only two singles and a double and committed one error.

UCA scored all six runs in the second inning off McNeese starter Aidan Anderson, who allowed eight hits, six earned runs and struck out six. The Cowboys used five pitchers in all, with Anderson (0-4) taking the loss.

Gray’s total tied a mark that was set three times, most recently by Matt Whitaker in 2007. Gray now has 35 strikeouts in four appearances this season. The team record was set in April 1960 against Arkansas Tech. 

Because of expected inclement weather, the teams will complete the series with a doubleheader Sunday


CBC baseball

Central Baptist College's baseball team (11-12, 3-6 AMC) split a doubleheader Friday against Lindenwood-Belleville (10-12, 4-6) to win the three-game series.

The Lynix won the first game 2-1. Austin Kuchinski's solo home run was all the Mustange offense. Ben Madison struck out 16 in the loss.

CBC won the nightcap, 5-3. Trae Bobo had a three-run home run. Dylan Crossley got the win, going six innings and surrendering five hits and two runs (one earned) with eight strikeouts. Hunter Marshall nailed down his second save of the season with a perfect ninth.

CBC softball

CBC's softball team (7-8, 1-1 AMC) split a doubleheader Friday against Missouri Baptist (3-4, 1-1), winning the first game, 4-1, and losing the second, 14-7.

Hunter Clark and Allison Seats homered in both ends of the doubleheader.

Kymberlie House scattered seven hits in the first game.

Seats and Clark both finished the second game with three hits and three RBIs while Alyssa Estrada was 4-4 in game two with a triple and a run scored.House threw a complete game, scattering seven hits and allowing just one run while striking out two.

UCA tennis

The Central Arkansas women’s tennis closed out a four-match home stand on Saturday morning, hosting the Incarnate Word Cardinals at the UCA Tennis Courts.

The Sugar Bears extended their winning streak to seven straight on the day, taking down the Cardinals 5-2.