HOUSTON – HBU scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth to rally for an 8-6 victory in the second game, after dropping a 3-2 decision in game one of a Southland Conference doubleheader Saturday afternoon at Husky Field.
The senior class did most of the damage on Senior Day as senior rightfielder Brandon Bena went 2-for-4 with a home run, two RBIs, and scored twice, senior centerfielder Chase Talbot went 2-for-3 with an RBI and scored a run, senior third baseman Nathan Soriano went 1-for-4, drove in a pair and scored, senior second baseman Trent Franson went 1-for-3 and scored. Senior leftfielder Lane Botkin went 2-for-4 with an RBI and freshman shortstop Sebastian Trinidad singled and scored twice.
Sophomore righthander Javan Smitherman (1-2) earned his first victory as a Husky, allowing two runs on three hits, striking out two, and walking three in five innings of relief. After giving up a two-run home run in the fifth, Smitherman shut UCA out over the final four innings. Redshirt freshman Ethan Abbott got the start in his HBU debut and tossed one scoreless inning. Junior lefthander Austin Spinney allowed four runs on five hits with three strikeouts and three walks in three innings.
Benny Ayala went 3-for-4 with a home run, a double, four RBIs, and scored twice for the Bears, while Nathaniel Sagdahl went 2-for-3 with an RBI.
Dillan Janak (2-4) took the loss, allowing two runs on three hits without recording an out. Starter Logan Gilbertson gave up four runs, two earned, on six hits, with three strikeouts and a walk in four innings and Brad Verel allowed two runs on one hit in one inning.
The Huskies jumped out to an early lead with two runs in the second, then Bena blasted a two-run home run to left, his team-leading fifth of the season, to extend the lead to 4-0.
Ayala cut the lead in half with a two-run double in the fourth, then RJ Pearson added an RBI groundout and Sagdahl had an RBI single to cap a four-run inning to tie the game. Ayala then gave the Bears the lead with a two-run homer in the fifth.
HBU came back and tied the game on Soriano’s two-run single in the sixth and Botkin laid down an RBI bunt single to reclaim the lead. Junior designated hitter Parker Wayne drove in the insurance run with a ground ball to short but reached on an error.
In the first game, Franson went 3-for-3 with a double, an RBI, and a run, while Wayne went 2-for-3 with a double and scored.
Sophomore righthander Daxton Tinker took a no-decision, allowing two runs on eight hits with four strikeouts in six innings and junior righthander Andrew Reitmeyer (2-4) was tagged with the loss, allowing one run on no hits with three walks in an inning of relief.
Ayala went 2-for-3 with two doubles and scored twice for UCA and Coby Potvin was 2-for-4.
Tyler Cleveland (6-3) earned the win, shutting HBU out on three hits with three strikeouts and a walk over the final four innings. Starter Cole Halpin allowed two runs, one earned, on four hits with five strikeouts and two walks in 2.1 innings.
Ayala doubled and scored on Connor Flagg’s RBI single in the second, then HBU answered on Talbot’s RBI groundout following a Franson double.
The Huskies took the lead on Franson’s RBI infield single in the third, but the Bears tied it on Christian Brasher’s sacrifice fly after Ayala doubled.
The Bears had runners at second and third with one out in the seventh when Connor Emmet hit a ground ball to second with the infield in and Drew Sturgeon was able to slide in under the tag for what proved to be the winning run.
The Huskies wrap up the regular season on the road against Southeastern Louisiana Thursday through Saturday in Hammond.