Steve East, Associate Athletic Director for Media Relations
NORTH LITTLE ROCK – The University of Central Arkansas Bears rallied with a pair of home runs in the eighth inning to down the Little Rock Trojans 6-4 on Tuesday night at Dickey-Stephens Park in their final in-state game of the season.
Junior catcher William Hancock hit a long two-run blast to right field, followed four pitches later by a solo shot down the left-field line by senior shortstop Josh Somdecerff, good for a two-run UCA lead. A combination of relievers Ross Rogers and Conner Williams then shut down the Trojans in the final two innings.
Freshman right hander Gavin Stone (2-2) went seven innings, allowing 7 hits, 3 earned runs and striking out 5. The Bears (32-20) evened the annual “Rock N Roar Rivalry” series with the Trojans (26-24). Little Rock used nine pitchers, with Nick Perez (2-2) taking the loss, allowing all four runs in the eighth inning.
After the Trojans took a 1-0 lead in the third inning on an RBI single by right fielder Chase Coker, UCA came back with two runs in the fifth. Senior shortstop Josh Somdecerff doubled, moved to third on T.J. Black’s bunt single and came in to score on Keaton Presley’s sacrifice fly. Junior left fielder Hunter Strong followed with a double to right field to give the Bears a 2-1 lead.
The Trojans got the run back on a walk, consecutive sacrifice bunts and a fielding error in the bottom of the inning, then added two more in the sixth on an RBI triple by Perez _ playing third base at the time _ and a wild pitch by Stone.
The Bears then put together a four-run inning in the eighth, all against Perez and all with two outs. Senior Rigo Aguilar singled up the middle and eventually scored on Eddy Sanchez’ sacrifice fly to center field. Hancock then hammered his fifth home run of the season deep to right field to give the Bears a 5-4 lead. Somdecerff then went the other way for his team-high eighth of the season.
Rogers, a sophomore from Fordyce, struck out two in the eighth before giving way to Williams, who got the final out of the inning, also with a strikeout. In the ninth, Williams worked around a two-out single and struck out Coker looking for the final out.
Somdercerff finished 3 for 4 with two runs scored, while Aguilar was 2 for 3. Marcus Ragan led the Trojans, going 3 for 4.
The Bears return to Southland Conference action on Thursday night, taking on the Nicholls Colonels in Thibadaux, La. Game times are 6 p.m. Thursday, 6 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. Saturday.