Bears sweep Lions with 16-6 win

CONWAY — The University of Central Arkansas Bears finished off their first ASUN series sweep of the season on May 8, blasting the North Alabama Lions 16-6 at Bear Stadium.

The Bears (22-23), who won their seventh of eight conference series, improved to 16-8 in ASUN play and into sole possession of second place in the West Division with two series remaining. UCA pounded out a season-high 19 hits, including three home runs, and got solid work on the mound from starter Cade Fenton and reliever Andrew Shoultz. 

Tanner Leonard

The Bears, who outscored the Lions 37-17 on the weekend, led 7-0 after three innings and never looked back. UCA got home runs from Tanner Leonard, his second of the season, Dylan Cyr, his second of the weekend and Hunter Hicks, his team-high 11th of the year.

UCA had nine different players register a hit and nine players to score a run, much like Friday’s 18-9 win in the series opener. Hicks finished 2 for 6 with 5 runs batted in, while Leonard went 3 for 5 with 3 RBI and 3 runs scored. Cyr, Connor Emmet and R.J. Pearson had two RBI apiece A.J. Mendolia was 3 for 5 and scored twice.

Fenton, a junior from Farmington, Ark. and transfer from Hutchison Community College, picked up his first win, going 5 1/3 innings, allowing 5 hits and 2 runs while striking out 4. Shoultz, a junior from Scurry, Texas, pitched the final 3 2/3 innings for his team-high fourth save. He allowed 4 hits, 4 runs and struck out 3.

UCA manufactured a run in the first with a Kolby Johnson leadoff hit and eventually scored after a pair of errors and a wild pitch. The Bears plated three more in the second and third innings. Hicks had a two-run double in the second and Leonard added a two-run home run in the third.

UCA got one more run in the fifth on Emmet’s RBI single, then put up two more in the sixth on an RBI double by Leonard and a run-scoring single by R.J. Pearson. In the seventh, UCA plated two runs on Cyr’s home run to go with his pinch-hit grand slam on Friday. Both teams put up four runs in the eighth, including a no-doubt three-run blast by Hicks over the left field wall.