The University of Central Arkansas Bears placed their opening-round Southland Conference tournament hopes on the arm of senior Bryce Biggerstaff and the bat and legs of senior Doug Votolato to advance in the opening round of the Southland Conference baseball tournament Wednesday night.
Biggerstaff, solid on the mound during the past month for UCA, was the workhorse again Wednesday night in propelling the sixth-seeded Bears to a six-hit, 3-1 victory over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi before a record crowd of 758 at Bear Stadium.
“He (Biggerstaff) is a hard-nosed guy who has been outstanding each and every time he has gone out there down the stretch,” said UCA coach Allen Gum. “He just gets the ball and goes, and pitch counts don’t matter.”
It was the sixth straight victory by the Bears in the SLC tourney, going back to a run through the losers bracket to the title last year.
Votolato, provided the offensive spark, going 4-for-5 with two RBIs, plus making an outstanding catch in center that prevented extra bases in the seventh.
Justin Treece, another senior, was 2-for-4 with a run scored. Sophomore Tyler Langley of Conway was 2-for-3 with a RBI.
The Bears were 30-21 going into Thursday’s late winners’ bracket game against seventh-seeded McNeese State, which defeated second-seeded Nicholls State, 4-2 Wednesday night.
NORTHWESTERN STATE 10, LAMAR 8
Thursday morning, Northwestern State’s Caleb Dugas hit a two-run home run in the top of the ninth inning to help lead the Demons to a 10-8 victory over Lamar in an elimination game.
The Demons tallied 13 hits and took advantage of four Lamar errors to score 10 runs, three of which were unearned.
They will play another elimination game at 9 a.m. Friday.
TEXAS A&M-CORPUS CHRISTI 3, NICHOLLS STATE 2
Thursday afternoon, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi gave up two runs on six hits in 7.1 innings in sparking the Islanders to a 3-2 victory in another elimination game. They now await the loser of the UCA-McNeese State game.
Closer Jacob Dorris earned his eighth save of the season.