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Bears emerge from pause, beat Trojans

by Eli Lederman | April 14, 2021 at 2:31 a.m.

CONWAY -- Sophomore outfielder Kolby Johnson said Tuesday that a covid-19 pause dating to April 3 gave his team a chance to "reset" in the midst of a four-game losing streak.

Johnson and a refreshed University of Central Arkansas team returned to the field after the 10-day layoff to sink the University of Arkansas at Little Rock 4-2 at Bear Stadium.

Junior Connor Emmet's two-run single powered a three-run fifth inning, and Johnson's seventh inning solo home run helped UCA (10-16) snap a four-game losing streak to the Trojans.

"It was fun to be back together as a team and to see everyone's faces," Johnson said. "We all pulled in the same direction to get a win. We lost like four games in a row before the layoff, so we needed the win -- we needed it."

Nine UCA hurlers limited the Trojans (15-14) to two runs on eight hits. Senior Mark Moyer made his 65th career appearance and threw only six pitches in a scoreless fifth inning to earn his first win of the season.

Emmet and UCA sophomore Hunter Hicks each recorded a pair of hits, and junior Benny Ayala walked twice and was hit by a pitch that brought home Johnson for the third run of the fifth inning.

Bears freshman Tyler Cleveland pitched a scoreless 11/3 innings to pick up a save and send UCA into a four-game visit at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi with a victory.

"Coming out here and beating a good club coming off a big weekend felt good," UCA Coach Allen Gum said. "That's big for us. We played some good baseball tonight."

The Trojans led after a two-run second inning before the bats went silent. Sophomore Noah Dickerson went 3 for 4, and senior Jorden Hussein extended his on-base streak to 19 games.

UALR senior Luke Wallner was perfect for three innings in his first start of 2021, including two strikeouts and five ground outs over 36 pitches before he was replaced by senior Dylan Delgadillo in the fourth inning.

UALR senior Cal Beardsley allowed two inherited runs and another earned run in the fifth, and he took his first loss as the Trojans' three-game winning streak was snapped.

"You come off a highly emotional, positive weekend and you want to continue riding that and playing well, and we didn't," UALR Coach Chris Curry said. "We have to address our consistency."

Singles from Russ and Dickerson put runners in scoring position in the second inning, and senior Kobe Barnum drove Russ in with a deep sacrifice fly to center field. Dickerson later scored to give the Trojans a 2-0 lead on a throwing error by Bears senior catcher Nathaniel Sagdahl.

The Bears drew two walks in the fifth to chase Trojans senior Eli Sievert, and Emmet's game-tying single up the middle off Beardsley leveled the game at 2-2. Beardsley was replaced by sophomore Reese Lansville, who gave up a single to Hicks to load the bases and then hit Ayala with a pitch to break the tie.

Junior Sawyer Smallwood -- UALR's fourth pitcher of the inning -- retired Bears junior Kinner Brasher to end the frame that saw nine UCA batters come to the plate.

"We were able to have team at-bats over and over again," Johnson said. "We trusted the guys behind us, and that helps string together at-bats the way we did in that inning."

MISSISSIPPI STATE 18, ARKANSAS STATE 10

Outfielder Jaylon Deshazier went 3 for 5 with 4 RBI on Tuesday to lead Arkansas State University in a loss to Mississippi State at Dody-Noble Field in Starkville, Miss.

The Red Wolves took a 3-1 lead on a Jake Gish solo home run in the second inning, as well as an RBI single from Deshazier and an RBI fielder's choice in the third inning. The Bulldogs then scored 17 unanswered runs -- including 12 in the bottom of the eighth inning -- to take an 18-3 lead.

Arkansas State scored seven runs in the top of the ninth inning highlighted by a three-run double from Deshazier.

Gish and Ben Klutts finished with two hits each for the Red Wolves, who had 11 as a team. Lane Forsythe led the Bulldogs by going 3 for 4 with 3 RBI and 3 runs scored, and Rowdey Jordan finished 3 for 4 with 2 RBI and 2 runs scored.

Right-hander Jake Algee took the loss for Arkansas State after allowing 3 earned runs on 4 hits with 1 walk in 12/3 innings.

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