CONWAY – The University of Central Arkansas Bears got an RBI single by senior Rigo Aguilar in the eighth inning to earn a 6-5 victory over Incarnate Word on Saturday night and sweep the Cardinals 3-0 in Southland Conference action at Bear Stadium.
UCA took the opener of the doubleheader 8-3 behind a 3-for-3 performance from Aguilar, a senior third baseman.
UCA (12-8, 4-2) improved to 5-0 on its current homestand and won its ninth straight home game and its 10th of the past 11 at Bear Stadium. UIW dropped to 13-9 and 3-3 after Saturday’s two losses.
The Bears led 5-1 through seven innings of Game 2, riding the arm of junior starter Cody Davenport, who went 7 1/3 innings, allowing nine hits and just one earned run while striking out five. But the Cardinals, who swept Abilene Christian last weekend, put up four runs in the eighth inning to tie it at 5-5.
UCA responded in the bottom of the eighth when catcher William Hancock had a one-out base hit up the middle and advanced to second base on a throwing error by UIW pitcher Jenner Jackson on a pickoff attempt. Senior Michael Haun came in to pinch run for Hancock and scored the game-winning run when Rigo Aguilar singled up the middle.
The Cardinals got their first batter on base in the top of the ninth against UCA closer Mark Moyer but he struck out Kyle Bergeron and catcher Justin McCarty threw out Eddie Gonzalez attemping to steal second on the same play. Moyer then struck out designated hitter Lee Thomas to earn the victory and improve to 4-2 on the season.
Senior center fielder Keaton Presley hit a pair of doubles, including a two-run double in the fifth, and finished 3 for 4 with 3 RBI. Josh Somdecerff went 2 for 4 with 2 run scored as UCA finished with 12 hits.
In the opener, the Bears broke open a 4-3 game with a four-run seventh inning to back the start of junior Tanner Wiley (1-0), who went 6 1/3 innings, allowing just two earned runs. Junior Tyler Smith and senior center fielder Keaton Presley both had two hits and two RBI, with Presley hitting his team-high fourth home run in the sixth inning.
In the seventh, UCA got a leadoff single by Aguilar and a UIW error on T.J. Black’s ground ball put runners at first and second with no outs. Hunter Strong’s sacrifice bunt was thrown away by the UIW pitcher, allowing Aguilar to score the first run. Smith added a two-run single to left center to make it 7-3 before Presley doubled in the final run.
Sophomore Ross Rogers got his first save, pitching the final 2 2/3 innings, striking out two and allowing just one hit.
UCA hosts Big 12 Oklahoma State at 6 p.m. Tuesday before hitting the road next weekend for an SLC series at New Orleans.