The University of Central Arkansas Bears had their way with the Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions on Wednesday night at Bear Stadium, cruising to a 25-5 non-conference victory in their final tune-up for an important Southland Conference series this weekend.
The Bears (30-18) used a 12-run third inning to blow the game open and turned 25 hits into 25 runs, giving them their seventh consecutive victory and their fourth 30-win season under head coach Allen Gum.
UCA sent 15 batters to the plate in the third inning, with junior designated hitter Hunter Strong accounting for four RBI in that inning alone with a pair of doubles. Junior first baseman Tyler Smith added his sixth home run of the season, one of UCA's three on the night, a two-run shot to right field.
For the game, Strong finished three for three with a home run and two doubles and had seven RBI, one night after recording a career-high six RBI in UCA's 14-3 win over another in-state rival Arkansas State.
In the two games, UCA outscored its opponents 39-8 and out-hit them 34-18.
Strong combined to go seven for eight with 13 RBI and five runs scored in the two games.
While there were plenty of offensive heroes, junior right-hander Taylor Anders was just as valuable.
In the first start of his UCA career, Anders went five innings, allowing just four hits and one run while striking out four and walking none.
UCA used five more young arms to get through the rest of the game with the Southeastern Louisiana Lions looming this weekend.
UCA played 16 position players with 13 recording hits.
Ten players knocked in runs and 14 scored.
Two players, Colby LeBlanc and Paul Rouse, picked up three hits each off the bench, with Rouse getting his first three hits of the season and bringing in three runs. Senior catcher Justin McCarty hit his first home run of the season and eighth of his career in the fifth inning finished two for five with three RBI and three runs scored.
The Bears added four more runs in the fourth inning and six more in the sixth, including a two-run double to the wall in left center by sophomore third baseman Christian Brasher, who entered the game in the fifth inning.
Coby Potvin was one for one with two RBI and two run scored, including a double off the bottom of the right-field fence in the decisive third inning. Smith went three for three with three RBI and two runs scored.
UCA, in third place in the SLC standings at 16-8, hosts No. 2 SLU (19-8) in a key three-game series beginning at 6 p.m. Friday at Bear Stadium.
Graduation ceremonies will take place prior to Saturday's 4 p.m. start, with Senior Day set for Sunday's 1 p.m. finale.
Central Arkansas Women’s Golf
University of Central Arkansas senior Fernanda Lira shot a final-round two-under 70 on Wednesday to jump eight spots and finish tied for 40th out of 96 golfers at the NCAA Tallahassee Regional at the Don Veller Seminole Golf Course.
UCA junior Emma Svensson shot a three-over 75 on Wednesday and finished tied for 53rd.
Lira, from Mexico City, Mexico, shot 77-72-70_219. Svensson, from Halmstad, Sweden, shot 76-73-75_224.
Lira had an eagle-3 on No. 9 to go along with four birdies and four bogeys in her final round. Svensson, playing in her second NCAA Regional, had a triple bogey on No. 3 but then played her final 15 holes in one-under to finish at three-over 75.
Wake Forest's Jennifer Kupcho shot a 15-under 201 to beat Alabama's Lauren Stephenson by one stroke for the individual title. Alabama, Florida State, Furman, Arizona, Washington and Clemson were the top six teams who advance to the national championships on May 18-23 at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
The three individuals who advanced were Kupcho, Tennessee's Micheala Williams and Georgia's Jilian Hollis.