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Bears drop pair to Bearkats

UCA managed only eight hits over the two games and lost 2-0 and 3-1 to fall to 0-3 against the Bearkats in their four-game series.
Credit: UCA Sports

CONWAY, Arkansas — The University of Central Arkansas’ bats were stifled again Friday as the Bears dropped both games of a doubleheader to the Sam Houston Bearkats in Southland Conference action at Bear Stadium.

UCA (9-15, 6-9) managed only eight hits over the two games and lost 2-0 and 3-1 to fall to 0-3 against the Bearkats in their four-game series. The finale is set for 1 p.m. Saturday.

In the seven-inning opener, the Bearkats (11-13, 8-7) got the only two runs they would need in the third inning, aided by a UCA error. A dropped fly ball put SHSU’s leadoff batter on third and he scored on a sacrifice fly. All-American center fielder Colton Cowser then followed with a home run to right field for a 2-0 lead.

The Bears finished with just three hits against SHSU starter Dominic Robinson and closer Lance Lusk, who recorded his second and third saves of the weekend on Friday. Robinson struck out four and Lusk worked the seventh inning for the save. Sophomore center fielder Kolby Johnson had two of UCA’s three hits, including a double down the left-field line in the sixth inning when the Bears left two runners on base.

Senior Mark Moyer (1-3) was the hard-luck loser, going the distance and allowing six hits and no earned runs while striking out a season-high eight and walking just one. Moyer threw 117 pitches, two short of tying his career high.

In Game 2, UCA’s pitching duo of freshmen Tate Busey and Tyler Cleveland did enough to give the Bears a chance but UCA could only manage one run off four SHSU pitchers. Starter Matt Dillard went six innings, striking out seven and allowing four hits and one run. Lusk closed it out again in the ninth, working around consecutive walks to Drew Sturgeon and Andrew Pollum. UCA left both runners on base as a fielder’s choice ended the rally.

Sam Houston took a 1-0 lead in the third and UCA tied it with a single run in the sixth. Senior Coby Potvin singled to left center and scored on A.J. Mendolia’s base hit to left center. But the Bearkats added two more insurance runs off two hits in the seventh inning. Mendolia finished 2 for 4 with an RBI. Busey went six innings, allowing three hits and two runs, striking out three and walking one. Cleveland went the final three innings, striking out five and allowing a run.

The Bears will lose their first conference series of the season after splitting the first three.