CONWAY, Ark. (UCA) - A second consecutive complete game gave the University of Central Arkansas Bears a series victory over 16th-ranked Sam Houston State on Saturday at Bear Stadium.
Junior Chris Caudle went the distance in leading the Bears to a 4-2 victory over the Bearkats, following Connor Gilmore's nine-inning victory on Friday night.
The Bears (12-8, 3-2), who handed the Bearkats their first Southland Conference loss on Friday, led 1-0 early, then overcame a 2-1 deficit in the fifth inning and never trailed again. UCA touched SHSU starter Sam Odom (4-1) for three earned runs in 4 2/3 innings and handed him his first loss of the season.
UCA scored first in the second inning when Nate Ferrell had a leadoff double and eventually scored on Scott Zimmerle's ground out. After the Bearkats (16-7, 3-2) added single runs in the fourth and fifth innings to take a 2-1 lead, UCA responded with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth.
Center fielder Nick Rougeau reached on a fielder's choice and stole second before Tyler Langley walked. Doug Votolato's sacrifice bunt moved both runners and Chris Townsend followed with a two-run single to right center, good for a 3-2 lead.
UCA made it 4-2 in the seventh when Votolato had an infield single, went to second on a ground out and scored on an error by SHSU shortstop Corey Toups.
Caudle allowed a base runner in the eighth but he was erased with a double play. SHSU put two more runners on in the ninth but Caudle got Casey Atwood to hit a ground ball back to him to end the game.
Votolato had two of UCA's seven hits, while Townsend had two RBI for the Bears. Caudle (4-2), with his team-high fourth victory, allowed just seven singles, striking out four and walking four. UCA, the defending SLC Tournament champion, has now won four games in a row and five of its last six.
The final game of the series is set for 1 p.m. Sunday.