The weather outside was cold; the pace, outside and inside, at the University of Central Arkansas was a whirlwind.
UCA’s athletic staff was fatigued and dizzy Monday, but full of smiles.
UCA, with a men’s Bracketbusters basketball game, the UCA Invitational Softball Tournament and three games in baseball, hosted 19 home events. UCA teams played in 10 of them and went 10-0.
The UCA men broke a four-game losing streak in basketball with the victory over SIU-Edwardsville. The baseball and softball teams outscored their opponents by a combined 108-16 and each had a no-hitter. One of the baseball teams to go down to the Bears was Kansas University.
Outside of the weather, it was almost a perfect weekend at UCA, one of the most successful sports weekends in many a year.
And while some of the competition wasn’t always top drawer, the UCA softball team defeated Northern Iowa twice, once by 16-2. Northern Iowa was 40-15 last season. Ball State, another victim, was the regular-season champion of the Mid America Conference last year.
Northern Iowa and Ball State had good teams; we just made them look bad,” said UCA softball coach David Kuhn.
The Bears, in scoring 69 runs, had nine players hit better than .350 for the weekend. Sam Forrest batted 13-for-24 (.542) with five doubles.
Pitcher Kelsie Armstrong won four games and pitched a no-hitter, striking out 12, against Grambling State.
“It was ridiculous,” said Kuhn. “I have never been a part of something like that. I’ve never had a team play so well offensively, defensively and pitch that well.”
The men were not to be outdone, getting solid pitching efforts by Caleb McClanahan, Jeffrey Enloe and then the no-hitter by Bryce Biggerstaff against Jackson State on Sunday, only the second in school history and the first since 1969.
“Our pitching just got better and better over the three days,” said UCA baseball coach Allen Gum. “We pitched to our defense. Our defense is the backbone of our team. What was impressive about the no-hitter was it came against a team that can run, which means they are capable of beating out some infield hits.”
UCA pitchers walked two batters in the three games.
Armstrong was an error away from throwing a perfect game. Biggerstaff was a hit batsman short of perfection.
Psychologically, it was a weekend suitable for framing for UCA — in gold.
(Sports columnist David McCollum can be reached at email@example.com or 505-1235)