NATCHITOCHES, La. _ The University of Central Arkansas Bears left the bases loaded in the ninth inning Friday in a 6-2 loss to the Northwestern State Demons in Southland Conference action at Brown-Stroud Field.
The Bears (22-17, 10-9) saw their four-game conference winning streak come to an end, while the Demons (23-18, 11-8) broke an overall five-game losing streak with the victory. The teams will meet in a doubleheader at 2 p.m. Saturday to avoid possible severe weather on Sunday.
UCA left 11 runners on base, including six of those at third base. The Bears did not score after the fourth inning despite having eight baserunners over the final five innings.
NSU’s freshman starter Adam Oller (5-0) remained perfect by allowing nine hits and two earned runs and striking out 6 over 7 1/3 innings. Brandon Smith picked up the save, coming in with the bases loaded in the ninth and striking out three consecutive Bears.
The Demons took a 1-0 lead off UCA starter Bryce Biggerstaff in the first inning but the Bears tied it with a run in the top of the third on Carson Dowdle’s second home run of the season. NSU re-took the lead in the bottom of the inning but UCA tied it once again in the fourth on a double by Nate Ferrell and an RBI single by Scott Zimmerle.
From there, the Demons scored twice in the bottom of the fourth and once in both the sixth and eighth innings. In the top of the ninth against NSU left-handers Joey Parrack, pinch-hitter Brandon Montalvo reached on an error _ NSU’s fifth of the game _ and moved to second on a wild pitch before pinch hitter Brad Dillenberger walked.
Doug Votolato, who was 3 for 5, had a base hit to left to load the bases and chase Parrack. However, Smith came in and struck out Carson Dowdle, Chris Townsend and Ferrell to earn his first save.
UCA senior Bryce Biggerstaff (3-5) took the loss, allowing 11 hits and five earned runs in seven innings. Ferrell finished 2 for 5, while Zimmerle was 2 for 3 with an RBI and a stolen base. Votolato also stole his 16th base of the season, putting him in a tie for first place in the SLC.