A four-inning scoring barrage led the University of Central Arkansas Bears (7-11) to a 12-3 victory Tuesday at Bear Stadium against the Little Rock Trojans (7-10) in the first game of the Rock-N-Roar rivalry.
The win broke an eight-game losing streak for UCA, which coach Allen Gum was proud to get it against a team of Little Rock’s caliber.
“It was great,” Gum said. “It’s been a real tough stretch. We’ve played some tough competition, so it’s finally good to put together a game like this. I’m looking at their lineup and their numbers offensively.
“They’re hitting the ball well, so it was good to hold them down. It feels good; we just had a tough road the last two weeks.”
A five-run second inning came about on a pair of Trojan errors and four Bear hits, bringing UCA out of an early 1-0 hole after the first inning.
Subsequently, the Bears scored one, three and three runs across the next three innings, respectively.
A trio of UCA players led the barrage offensively, namely Michael Haun, who recorded a 3-for-4 day with two triples and two RBI.His two triples bring him within one of the season record of seven, set by Jonathan Houston in 2011, just 18 games in the season.
Hunter Strong went 2 for 4 with a pair of RBI, while William Hancock provided a 4-for-4 day with three RBI.
“I thought they did a good job of controlling the strike zone and getting their pitch to hit,” he said. “When they got their pitch, they got on it and drove it.”
In addition, the Bears were able to get through nine Little Rock pitchers , drawing eight walks, two batters getting hit by pitches and 13 hits, which Gum said the team as a whole did a great job of controlling the strike zone.
UCA junior Will Brand got the start and the win, giving up three runs, one earned, on six hits and walked two in a seven-inning outing in which he struck out five.
“Will had been struggling a bit out of the pen, so we thought we’d give him a start to see how he does,” Gum said of Brand’s performance. “In the first inning, he ran into some trouble, but he kind of settled in. He pitched backward and threw his curveball in any count.
“I think that was the biggest thing. He got his breaking ball in on 2-0 and 1-0 and kind of pitched backward. They’ve got some big hitters and hit the ball well, but Will kept them off balance.”
The Bears will try to continue their winning ways during a three-game series starting Friday at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio.