The UCA baseball team won three of five games at the Southland Conference tournament in Sugarland, Texas May 22-25. The Bears lost the championship game, their fifth and final game, to McNeese State University Cowboys which ended with a score of 2-4.
The Bears and Cowboys were tied 1-1 until the the Cowboys scored three more runs in the seventh inning. Although the Bears did not catch up, they scored one run in the eighth inning with a single hit by senior Tanner Wiley allowing junior Josh Ragan to score.
While the championship game was the Cowboys’ only game that day, it was the second game of the day for the Bears, who had earlier played and won in their fourth tournament game against the Southeastern Louisiana University Lions with a final score of 6-3, allowing them to advance to the championship.
However, the Bears lost their third game of the tournament against the Lions with a final score of 3-9.
The Bears’ first win of the tournament was against the Northwestern State University Demons with a final score of 2-0, with their second win being against Stephen F. Austin University and ending with a final score of 11-0. While playing the Demons, UCA senior Cody Davenport broke UCA baseball’s strike out record and tied for the all time wins record.
“I felt good on the mound, and I knew that this was potentially my last college start. So, I needed to make it count,” Davenport said.
The Bears held a solid defense against the Demons and matched that effort with good offense.
Davenport struck out 11 players and only walked one throughout the game against the Demons. Senior Tyler Smith hit the first RBI for senior Jay Anderson in the first inning, and junior Alonso Bibiano walked the second RBI allowing Ragan to score.
“I think the team played great. We had good at bats all day against a tough pitcher, and Davenport did what Davenport does: he shut down the other team,” Smith said.
“I think going forward, we need to get a few more hits in big situations so that the games aren’t so tight,” Smith said.
With the Southland Conference championship being the last game for the Bears, it was a bittersweet moment for the team, especially the graduated seniors.
“Stepping onto campus four years ago, I just wanted to get on the mound and help the team.” Davenport said. “Now, I look back and am very blessed to be a Bear and to have the support of my team, the coaches, and Bear fans.”
The 2019 UCA baseball seniors that graduated were Tanner Wiley, Taylor Anders, Connor Williams, Brett D’Amico, Tyler Smith, Cody Davenport, Jay Anderson and Coby Potvin.