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Razorbacks blitz UCA Bears 21-9

Razorback sophomore catcher Dylan Leach (#15) from Carthage, TX heads for home plate after hitting a home run to complete the cycle against UCA Tuesday night at Baum-Walker Stadium in Fayetteville, AR.

by Nate Allen

FAYETTEVILLE –  The University of Central Arkansas Bears can now say they led the nationally No. 2 Arkansas Razorbacks for one half inning at Baum-Walker Stadium.

The Bears’ lead ended there as Arkansas backup catcher Dylan Leach hit the cycle plus one spurring the Razorbacks to a 21-9 victory Tuesday night at Baum-Walker Stadium.

After knocking out Arkansas starter Miller Pleimann with a 3-run first inning , the Bears allowed an unearned run in the Arkansas first, then were overwhelmed with Arkansas salvos of six runs in the second and four in the third.

Starting in place of regular catcher Michael Turner, who finally rested after either catching or playing first base in Arkansas’ previous 26 games, No. 9-hitting Leach hit for the cycle plus one with a single, double, triple, and two home runs.  Leach’s 5 for 5 night netted five RBI, upon entering the game batting 1 for 22.

Leach’s triple off a “slug bunt” knocked in Arkansas’ first runs from first and second of the six-run second and “got us going,” Arkansas Coach Dave Van Horn said.

“Coach wanted me to get the bunt down to move the runners over,” Leach said.  “The first one I missed.  I tried to get out of the box too soon. That was on me.  He told me, ‘if they charge up and the shortstop pulls over,’ he said ‘pull it back and just hit it right down their throat.’  He gave me the right pitch and I did.”

The switch-hitter had bunted a single in the second doubled in the fourth and hit his home runs both batting left and right.

“Baseball is a tough sport,” Leach said of his 1 for 22 start.  “You fail more than you succeed. I started off to a tough start, but my players believed in me. My coaches believed in me. And so I just kept pushing every day and they just happen.”

It so happened that Van Horn said, “Dylan Leach had the game of his life. It’d be hard to ever duplicate that.”

Leach did not get the luxury of a homer trot for his first home run completing the cycle.

“I actually was thinking double out of the box because I didn’t think I hit it high enough,” Leach said.  “So I was trying to hustle out of the box to get a double. And then I saw the people in the bullpen go crazy and then I knew. My mind just went blank that I just did that.”

Jace Bohrfen, two home runs, Braydon Webb, a grand slam and  RBI, and Jalen Battles also homered for Arkansas.

Brady Slavens, a double and a triple, knocked in two Razorbacks runs. Robert Moore, also a double and a triple, knocked in two.

All of Arkansas’ starters netted at least one of the Hogs’ 19 hits.

Tuesday’s nonconference triumph ups Van Horn’s Razorbacks  to 22-5, heading into a Thursday through Saturday 3-game SEC series at Florida in Gainesville.

Coach Nick Harlan’s UCA Bears fall to 11-16 but battled hard heading into their three-game Atlantic-Sun Conference series, hosting Jacksonville State Friday through Sunday at Bear Stadium in Conway.

The fact that both teams were saving their frontline pitching for their conference games in Tuesday’s outing accounted for the combined team total of 30 runs and 32 hits.

The Bears, whacking 13 hits Tuesday, get another crack at Arkansas at 6 p.m. April 26 at Dickey-Stephens Park in North Little Rock.

UCA scored three off Pleimann, first on Hunter Hicks’ 1-out RBI double, scoring Kolby Johnson who singled leading off. A throwing error upon Andrew Pollum’s single scored the second run.  AJ Mendola doubled home Pollum.

UCA center fielder Drew Sturgeon, recording a spectacular catch, robbing Bohrfren of a third home run, ending Arkansas’ four-run sixth, singled home two off reliever Zack Morris in the third and added a sacrifice fly in the three-run seventh.

“I made the comment that Jace Bohrofen hit two and half home runs tonight,” Van Horn said citing the two home runs and great Sturgeon catch. “And nobody really noticed because a guy hit for the cycle and hit a second homer.

Connor Emmet homered off reliever Nick Moten leading off the UCA seventh.

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