The University of Central Arkansas Bears won their fifth straight baseball game Saturday, rallying for a 5-4 victory over the Eastern Illinois Panthers at Bear Stadium.

   Senior designated hitter Jonathan Houston tied a school record with two triples and junior Bryan Willson knocked in the winning run with an eighth-inning double to keep the Bears’ perfect 5-0 record intact. Junior lefthander Dustin Ward got the victory with five innings of relief and junior righthander Blake Payne picked up his second save in as many days with a scoreless ninth inning.

   UCA the game at 4 in the fourth on Houston’s first triple and Jordan Getchell’s RBI single through the left side of the infield. It remained that way until the eighth when senior Zack Dickson led off with a walk, went to second on Harris’ sacrifice bunt and scored on Willson’s double to center. Houston followed with his second triple in the right-center gap but was stranded at third.

Houston, from Conway, finished 3 for 4 with eight total bases. EIU out-hit the Bears 11-7, with leadoff batter Zach Borenstein going 3 for 5 and Thoma and T.J. McManus getting two hits apiece. 

Ward (1-0) allowed three hits and struck out two in five innings for his first victory. Payne, a transfer from Seminole State, already has a win and two saves in five games this season.

The teams conclude the series at 1 p.m. today.