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UCA baseball, softball lose; track and field competes in ASUN Championships | Sports


The University of Central Arkansas Bears baseball team nearly came all the way back from an 8-3 deficit Sunday but ended up falling, 8-7, to the Jacksonville Gamecocks at Rudy Abbott Field at Jim Case Stadium.

The Bears (23-26) trailed 8-3 after five innings and then scored four unanswered runs over the final three innings to make it a game. The Bears, who dropped to 17-10 in ASUN West Division play, scored three times in the seventh inning, and once in the eighth, an inning that ended in a costly base-running error.

UCA then got a two-out base hit from Cade White, the first of his career, in the ninth but could not tie the game. On the day, the Bears stranded 12 baserunners after collecting 11 hits, walking six times and getting hit five times.

The Bears went ahead 1-0 in the first inning on Drew Pollum’s RBI single. The Gamecocks (23-27, 16-11 ASUN) answered quickly with a two-run home run in the bottom of the inning. UCA re-took the lead in the second when Connor Emmet had a two-run single.

JSU tied it back up at 3-3 with a triple and single in the third. It stayed that way until the fifth when the Gamecocks hit two more home runs and added five runs on five hits.

UCA chipped away with three runs in the seventh when pinch hitter Dylan Cyr hit a two-run double down the right-field line and catcher Noah Argenta drew a bases-loaded walk. The Bears got one more in the eighth with an RBI single by Drew Sturgeon, but the rally ended with a Bear getting picked off third base for the final out.

Sturgeon had three hits and Pollum two for the Bears. UCA starter Andrew Shoultz took the loss. Reliever Trent Gregson struck out six over the final 3.2 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit.

UCA, which lost just its second conference series of the year, remains in a tie with Lipscomb for second place in the ASUN West, with one final series at home against West leader Eastern Kentucky (18-9). UCA and EKU will meet beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday at Bear Stadium.

Softball

After winning a first game Friday to stave off elimination, the Central Arkansas softball team couldn’t find enough runs in the second game of the day to reach the ASUN Championship Finals. After trouncing Kennesaw State 5-1, the Bears fell in the last game of the day to bow out of the tournament for a third-place finish against North Florida.

The Bears (35-20, 17-7 ASUN) had early offense in both games, with all six runs on the day scored in the first two innings, proving to be enough against the Owls, but not quite what would be needed against the Ospreys.

Central Arkansas wasted little time getting the bats going in the first inning in game one of the day, as Mary Kate Brown got on base with a two-out double. Jaylee Engelkes reached on a fielding error, moving Brown over to third. Coming up to bat with a home run already to her name in the tournament, Morgan Nelson clobbered another one, driving in three runs to jump out to an early lead.

Attempting to build an early, comfortable lead, Kristen Whitehouse knocked a one-out double, quickly putting the Kennesaw State pitcher back in trouble. Just as in the first, another batter reached via a fielding error, after which Tylar Vernon was able to reach second before the defense could regain control. Tremere Harris walked to load the bases, and Brown came back up and drove in another pair of runs, with Vernon crossing home after reacting to a third error on the Owls.

Entering the fourth inning, Kayla Beaver had not allowed a baserunner, simply obliterating the lineup. With the fourth, she continued the trend, as three Owls came to the plate, grounded to shortstop Kristen Whitehouse and went back to the dugout.

Beaver’s perfect game would last until the second batter of the fifth frame, when Kennesaw State finally tagged a single through the middle. From there, the lineup was able to work the runner around for a single score, the lone run of the game for the Owls.

The Bears were the first team to strike again in the second game of the day, getting rid of a pair of baserunners in the top of the first. Coming up to bat, Tremere Harris dropped a first-pitch bunt to get on base. Getting moved over on a groundout, Harris scored on Jaylee Engelkes’ single into left center, her 50th RBI of the season.

North Florida threatened in the second, putting runners on second and third before Jordan Johnson induced a flyout to get out of the jam. Central Arkansas put a runner on in the bottom half of the inning but couldn’t bring home another score to widen the lead.

The lead would hold until the fifth inning, as the Ospreys battled through a couple of at bats to bring home the tying run on the third batter of the frame. A couple of batters later, North Florida added another on a one-out groundout, putting the third run of the inning up on a fielding error.

From there, the Bears struggled to put baserunners on, earning most of their remaining runners through walks. Even with players available on the basepaths, consistent hitting just wasn’t there for the last few innings, as Central Arkansas closed its first season in the ASUN with a third-place finish in the conference tournament.

Track and Field

The University of Central Arkansas Bears traveled to Florida for the 2022 ASUN Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

After three days of competition, the women’s team placed seventh overall and the men’s team placed third overall.

Breaking Tamera Rhode’s record of 54.88 in the women’s 400m dash from Friday, Tyler Rose placed second with a personal record time of 54.52, breaking the record by 0.36. Tyler Rose held the record before Tamera Rhode with her time of 55.10 at the Crimson Invitational on April 22-23 of this year.

Setting the UCA record, Symone Quiles placed sixth in the women’s 400m hurdles with a personal record time of 1:03.01, breaking the previous record by 0:01.90.

Tristan LaVan placed first in the men’s 400m dash with a time of 46.77.



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