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UCA too much for Little Rock in round one of rivalry

CONWAY, Ark. _ The University of Central Arkansas Bears broke out of a two-week slump in a big way Tuesday, beating the Little Rock Trojans 12-3 in Round 1 of the “Rock N Roar Rivalry” at a chilly Bear Stadium.

UCA (7-11) used a five-run second inning to break the game open. The Bears added two more three-run frames and won going away. The Trojans (7-10) tried nine different pitchers, but they combined to give up 13 hits and 8 walks.

UCA sophomore catcher William Hancock finished 4 for 4 with 3 runs batted in. Junior center fielder Michael Haun was 3 for 4 with 2 RBI and scored 3 times. Sophomore first baseman Hunter Strong contributed 2 hits, 2 RBI and scored 3 runs, while senior shortstop Brooks Balisterri wwnet 2 for 5 with an RBI and a run.

Haun had a pair of triples, giving him six on the season, the most in NCAA Division I.

Junior lefthander Will Brand (2-1), in his first start as a Bear, tossed a gem, going 7 innings and allowing 6 hits, 1 earned run and striking out 5. Redshirt freshman Gavin Tillery threw the final two innings, striking out 2 and allowing just 1 hit.

The five-run second inning was highlighted by Haun’s two-run triple. Ty Tice, Balisterri and Keaton Presley also brought in runs in the inning. In the fourth, Strong and Hancock had RBI singles and Eddy Sanchez drew a bases-loaded walk for the third run.

Jansen McCurdy had a sacrifice fly, Strong an RBI double and Hancock an RBI single in the fifth to push the lead to 12-1.

The Bears face Incarnate Word this weekend in a return to Southland Conference play in San Antonio. Game times are 6:30 Friday, 3 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.

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