Lions SLC struggles continue

The Lions (22-11, 8-7 SLC) continued their conference woes against the University of Central Arkansas Bears (13-15, 7-8 SLC) last week, despite taking the first game of the three game series.

Freshman right-hander Andro Cutura pitched a career high for 7.1 innings, giving up six hits for four runs, only three of which were earned. Junior right-hander Stefan Lopez managed a perfect ninth to notch his 12th save of the season, tying former Lion Chris Franklin for most in a season. It was Lopez’s 22nd of his career, a record he already held outright.

After the game, Lions head coach Jay Artigues praised Cutura for his poise on the mound.

“The only time you can tell Andro Cutura’s a freshman is when he’s getting interviewed,” Artigues joked. “But other than that he’s lights out on the field. He was throwing 92 (mph) in the eighth inning, just dominating. He got ahead with his fastball. That’s the thing, his fastball’s his out-pitch because he has so much movement on it.”

Friday’s game did not bode as well for the Lions, with junior left-hander Jordan Hymel being chased from the game after four and two-thirds innings, giving up three earned runs. The offense scraped four runs together, but Lion pitching could not gain control of the strike zone, walking 11 batters, and hitting one more.

Saturday’s game brought much of the same, although it took ten innings to find a winner, despite a 4-for-4 performance from senior first baseman Jonathan Pace. Sophomore right-hander Jason Greenleaf took the mound for six innings, giving up three runs on five hits, before turning the ball over to the bullpen. Lopez gave up one unearned run in the tenth, giving him the loss.

The Lions return to action at home Wednesday against the Alabama Crimson Tide at 6 p.m.