STARKVILLE, Miss. – Central Arkansas made it two straight over the previously unbeaten and third-ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs, winning 7-3 on Sunday afternoon at Dudy Noble Field.
The Bears (14-2) took the series 2-1 and handed the Bulldogs (17-2) their first two losses of the season. They entered the weekend with a 20-game home win streak before losing to the Bears 7-3 on Saturday.
UCA junior right-hander Bryce Biggerstaff was in control throughout his second complete-game win of the season, allowing eight hits, three runs while striking out three and walking only one. Biggerstaff, from Central Arkansas Christian, threw a no-hitter
against Jackson State two weeks ago to earn conference and national pitcher of the week honors.
“Bryce did a really nice job today,” UCA coach Allen Gum said. “He pitched to his defense, he had his sinker working and he got good, solid defense behind him. They got to him a little bit in the second inning but he came back and made the adjustments and
was in control the rest of the way. He was really solid today.”
The Bears never trailed in either of their victories Saturday or Sunday. In the finale, UCA took a 2-0 lead in the second against MSU starter Kendall Graveman, who struck out seven but allowed four runs, three earned, in 5.2 innings. Catcher Michael Marietta
opened the inning with an infield single and moved to second on Scott Zimmerle’s sacrifice bunt. Second baseman Blake Marchal followed with an RBI double to right center.
Designated hitter Doug Votolato followed with a single to left center to plate Marchal for a 2-0 lead. The Bulldogs tied it in the bottom of the inning with three of their eight hits on the day, but Biggerstaff blanked them for the next six innings. He set
MSU down in order in the fourth and fifth innings, and allowed just one base runner in the sixth.
UCA’s defense turned three double plays behind Biggerstaff, including one to end the sixth inning and another to close the seventh, and played error-free for the second consecutive day.
“Our defense was key today,” Gum said. “The double plays were huge, at really key points in the game. They made all the difference down the stretch. And we got key hits down the stretch as well, especially in the ninth inning.”
The Bears took the lead for good with a two-run fourth inning. Marchal reached on a fielder’s choice and went to second on a failed pickoff attempt. Garrett Brown walked and Marchal went to third on a wild pitch. Justin Treece’s fielder’s choice scored Marchal
and Brown advanced to second on a throwing error. Forrestt Allday made it 4-2 with an RBI base hit to right field.
Facing MSU’s closer Jonathan Holder in the ninth, UCA tacked on three more runs for good measure. Holder hit Logan Moon with a pitch to lead off the inning and Allday followed with a single back up the middle. Jonathan Davis was hit by a pitch, the fifth
of the day by MSU pitchers, to load the bases.
Marietta had an RBI single to right to score Moon and Zimmerle walked to bring in Allday. Marchal posted the final run with a sacrifice fly to bring in Davis for a 7-2 lead. Hunter Renfroe hit a one-out, solo home run off Biggerstaff in the bottom of the
ninth, but he finished it off a fly ball and a ground out.
Marietta, a senior catcher from Oak View, Calif., fnished 3 for 4 with an RBI and run scored, while Allday went 2 for 5 with and RBI and run scored. Marchal had two RBI and 2 runs scored.
“This was a really nice weekend for us,” Gum said. “To go into a hostile environment against a very talented team, and to come out with two wins. It shows us that if we get timely hits, play good defense and pitch to our defense, we can play with anyone.
I’m really proud of our guys for how they handled themselves this weekend. It was a good weekend for UCA baseball.”
Other Southland Results on Sunday...
Southeastern Louisiana 11, Hartford 1
Troy 3, Southeastern Louisiana 1
TROY, Ala. – The Southeastern Louisiana University baseball team split a pair of games Sunday, defeating Hartford, 11-1, in the first game and falling to host Troy, 3-1, in the second game at Riddle-Pace Field. |
Sacred Heart 7, Nicholls State 4
THIBODAUX, La. – With strong winds wreaking havoc for most of the game, the Sacred Heart Pioneers found a way to score seven runs on 11 hits, holding the Nicholls State University baseball team scoreless through six innings eventually holding off Colonel rally
late in a 7-4 win in the finale between the two teams Sunday afternoon at Ray E. Didier field. |
Houston 3, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 1
HOUSTON, Texas – Texas A&M-Corpus Christi was unable to come up with timely hitting on Sunday afternoon, leaving 10 runners on base while falling by a 3-1 final against Houston in the rubber match of the series. The Cougars took the series with wins on Friday
and Sunday of the three-game set. |
Dallas Baptist 13, Oral Roberts 6
TULSA, Okla. – Oral Roberts knocked around 12 hits with five players recording two each, but big innings from Dallas Baptist overtake the Golden Eagles on Sunday, 13-6. |
Lamar vs. Massachusetts (Cancelled)
BEAUMONT, Texas – Due to inclement weather in the Beaumont area, Lamar cancelled its series finale with Massachusetts just minutes after first pitch. The game will not be made up.
McNeese State vs. New Orleans (Postponed)
LAKE CHARLES, La. – Due to inclement and worsening weather conditions, McNeese State postponed Sunday's series finale against New Orleans. The teams will work to reschedule the game for a future date this season.