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Faulkner Sports Roundup: UCA and Memphis work overtime in baseball

Also UCA softball and Hendrix baseball

Posted: March 8, 2014 - 8:33pm

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The University of Central Arkansas baseball team and the University of Memphis have put in some overtime work the last two days — playing 31 innings in splitting the first game of a three-game series.

The rubber game is Sunday afternoon at Fed-Ex Park.

The Bears (7-5) won a 17-inning game Friday night, 4-2. The Tigers (12-2) came back with a bases-loaded single in the 14th Saturday to win, 2-1.

In Friday night’s marathon, the Bears broke a 1-1 tie that had remained since the third inning with three runs in the top of the 17th off Memphis’ third pitcher, Nolan Blackwood, who had thrown five scoreless innings to that point. Tyler Langley of Conway started the rally when he was hit by a pitch leading off the 17th. He moved to second on Matt Anderson’s sacrifice bunt, and to third on Wesley Hoover’s groundout.

After Charles Deckard walked, Justin Treece laced a singled to left field to give the Bears their first lead since the first inning at 2-1. Brad Dillenberger then reached on a throwing error by the Tigers’ catcher that allowed both Treece and Deckard to score for a 4-1 advantage.

UCA junior righthander Connor McClain of Conway went back to the mound for his fourth inning of work and allowed an infield single and a double down the left-field line. Drew Griffin’s sacrifice fly gave the Tigers their first run since the third inning but McClain (1-1) forced a groundout to end the Bears’ second 17-inning game in the past three seasons. UCA lost 6-5 to Murray State in 17 innings on March 2, 2012.

All three UCA pitchers were nearly unhittable Friday, with starter Bryce Biggerstaff allowing just four hits and one run in eight strong innings, matching Memphis senior John Reed (2-1), who went 8 2/3 innings with just two hits and one run. Sophomore Bo Stitch tossed a perfect five innings of middle relief, setting down 15 consecutive batters from the ninth through the 13th innings.

Chris Townsend was the only UCA player with multiple hits. Senior Doug Votolato started the game by reaching on an error — one of four by the 11-2 Tigers — and eventually scored the game’s first run on Nate Ferrell’s sacrifice fly to right field. Memphis got its lone early run in the third inning on a UCA error and consecutive base hits.

UCA SOFTBALL

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — After losing the opener of a three-game Southland Conference series on Friday, the University of Central Arkansas softball team won the nightcap of a doubleheader Friday, then to the rubber game Saturday, 8-3, against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

UCA (10-15) scored five runs in the second inning of Saturday’s game on the way to winning its opening conference series. Sarah Bigej had a three-run double and Kylee Studioso (6-4) won her second straight game over the Islanders (5-16).

The Bears won the second game of Friday’s doubleheader, 8-5. Sam Forrest Hannah Stirton, Brianna Whisenhunt, Hayley Parker and Tylor Dodson all had two hits.

UCA had only five hits in the first game of the doubleheader in losing 2-1. Sam Forrest had two hits.

HENDRIX BASEBALL

DANVILLE, Ky. — After losing the opener of a three-game series against Centre, the Hendrix baseball team defeated the Colonels in the second half of a doubleheader Saturday.

Centre won the first game, 11-9. Hendrix came back to win the nightcap, 2-1.

The rubber game of the series is Sunday afternoon.

HENDRIX SOFTBALL

The Hendrix College softball team opened Southern Athletic Association play with a pair of losses to Millsaps College at Warrior Field on Saturday.

The Majors (9-0, 2-0) took the first game 9-6, then beat the Warriors (2-7, 0-2) 10-7.

The teams will play another doubleheader beginning at noon Sunday.

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