Bears open season against Purple Aces

The University of Central Arkansas baseball team is preparing for a new opponent this weekend.

Somebody else.

In this case, it’s the Evansville Aces, the season-opening opponent with games at 3 p.m. Friday, 5 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday at Bear Stadium.

UCA, 29-27 last season, is replacing three All-Southland Conference selections in outfielder Tyler Langley, second baseman Chris Townsend and third baseman Logan Preston. The key returnees are catcher William Hancock, shortstop Brooks Ballisteri, first baseman Hunter Strong and outfielder Michael Haun.

Sophomore Cody Davenport (6-2, 3.21 ERA last year), who will start Friday, will led a veteran pitching staff consisting of junior Tyler Gray, senior Brandon Hageria, junior Ty Tice and senior Jacob Murray.

“The biggest thing is we have so many new players,” said coach Allen Gum. “We are ready to get going. We need to play somebody else. How are we? I don’t know until we play somebody else besides ourselves.

“The biggest thing is we have so many new players.”

Gum has won 181 games at UCA and 407 during his career, plans to use Davenport and Ty Tice as his Friday-Saturday starters and build his bullpen with Gray and Gavin Killery.

“I think we’re a balanced team _ offense, defense and pitching,” he said. “That’s what we strive for. Hopefully we’ll have two or three difference makers in the lineup, and definitely have to have two or three difference makers on the mound.”

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