By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
STARKVILLE – Central Arkansas is trying to repeat some recent history.
The Bears have gotten good at avoiding posteason elimination. They did so Sunday by beating No. 14 Mississippi State, 5-2, in the NCAA regional championship round.
The teams meet again today at 7:05 p.m.
After losing the opening game of the Southland Conference Tournament, UCA won five in a row. It’s won three straight here, including a 3-0 win over South Alabama earlier Sunday.
UCA stayed alive earlier Sunday thanks to Connor Gilmore, who tossed a complete-game, four-hit shutout in a 3-0 win over South Alabama. It was the freshman’s second consecutive shutout, having thrown one against Southeastern Louisiana in the Southland Conference Tournament.
Gilmore (5-0) struck out two, walked one, and threw 101 pitches.
MSU set a school record last season by turning 71 double plays. That record fell Sunday when State turned its 72nd of 2013.
In the fifth, Jonathan Davis grounded back to pitcher Myles Gentry, who started a 1-6-3 double play to end the inning.
For the first time ever, MSU drew three consecutive crowds of 10,000-plus to Dudy Noble Field.
A total of 10,226 showed up for Sunday night’s game against UCA, and the attendance for State’s three games so far 32,452, an average of 10,817.
Total attendance on the weekend – six games – was 52,771.