LITTLE ROCK — The University of Central Arkansas Bears and the Arkansas-Little Rockexchanged leads for most of the night Wednesday, with the Trojans finally grabbing a 7-6 non-conference victory at Gary Hogan Field.
After UCA took a 6-5 lead in the top of the eighth inning, UALR answered with two in the bottom of the frame to earn the victory and split the season series. UALR reliever Tanner Rockwell, who had the go-ahead, two-run single in the eighth, walked a batter in the bottom of the ninth but struck out two to earn the save.
UCA sophomore Tyler Langley of Conway had three doubles, an RBI and scored two runs. Doug Votolato went 3 for 5, while junior catcher Charles Deckard was 3 for 4 with a triple.
The teams engaged in a bench-clearing brawl in the first meeting, resulting in suspensions of players and coaches for both teams. Wednesday's game was played without incident.
The Bears, who won the first meeting 5-4 in 11 innings in Conway, took a 1-0 lead in the second inning as Langley doubled and scored when Matt Anderson hit a fly ball to left field that the UALR outfielder caught, then dropped, allowing Langley to score from second. UALR pushed across two runs in the third inning but UCA tied it back with a another Langley double and Justin Treece’s RBI groundout.
The Trojans took the lead with three runs in the bottom of the frame, including a two-run home run by Austin Pfeiffer. UCA closed the gap to 5-4 with a pair of runs in the fifth. Votolato ran out a bunt single, stole second and went to third on a groundout.
Nate Ferrell’s double scored Votolato and Langley’s third double in as many at-bats brought in Ferrell to make it 5-4.
UCA reliever Riley Echols put two baserunners on in the bottom of the seventh before giving way to Bo Stitch, who held the Trojans scoreless. The Bears then took the lead when Carson Dowdle’s dribbler down the third-base line allowed Brad Dillenberger to score. The Trojans responded again with consecutive walks Rockwell’s two-run single through the left side.
Stitch (2-1) took the loss, while Dyllon Brownmiller (1-0) got the victory, despite allowing two runs in 2 1/3 innings of work. Rockwell went 3 for 5 with two RBI for UALR, while Pfeiffer was 2 for 4 with three RBI and two runs scored.
UCA returns to Southland Conference action this weekend at Northwestern State.