Going, Going… Wonder Boys, Muleriders Face Off in Elimination Game


RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. – The NCAA Division II Central Region Championship top seed and host team, the Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys, lost Friday 3-2 to Emporia State. Later in the evening, the No. 2 seeded SAU Muleriders were beaten by Minnesot State-Mankato 6-3. With the losses, the Muleriders are now thrust into an elimination game with GAC-rival Arkansas Tech. That game will feature a noon start time on Saturday.

The University of Arkansas-Monticello Boll Weevils were eliminated in an 8-6 loss to Augustana.

Zac Johnson had two hits, while the Wonder Boys combined for five hits but No. 3 Arkansas Tech (43-11) was unable to overcome the pitching of Dakota McKaskle and Shawn Talkington, as the Wonder Boys fell 3-2 to the Emporia State Hornets in the second round of the NCAA Division II Central Region Championship.

Emporia started off hot in the bottom of the first. Levi Parker drew a lead-off walk. Justin Harris singled to right field. Dean Long used an RBI double down the left field line to put two runs on the board.

The game was scoreless until the top of the fifth. Zac Johnson led off the inning with a triple to left field. John Lassiter’s sacrifice fly scored Johnson to put the Wonder Boys on the board.

Tech knotted the game in the seventh. Kris Ayers singled, followed by a single from Zac Johnson. Jay Johnson grounded out to third base on a sac bunt to advance the two runners. Lassiter drew a walk. After Mike Kattula struck out, James Sharp hit an RBI single to second to bring O’Bannon and tie up the game 2-2.

The Hornets responded in the bottom of the seventh with a bunt single from Dean Long to score the run and take the lead 3-2.

Emporia State used flawless pitching from relief pitcher Talkington, who took the win and gave up only one hit in three innings of work. Mason Reynolds suffered the loss after pitching 6.1 innings, giving up seven hits and three runs.

A five-run top of the third inning by third-seeded Minnesota State-Mankato proved to be the difference as the Southern Arkansas baseball team’s ninth-inning rally fell short; resulting in a 6-3 loss for SAU.

The Mavericks (43-9) scored the game’s first run on a sacrifice fly in the top of the first off of SAU starter Timothy Buchanan. In the bottom of the second inning, the Muleriders’ (39-18) Zack Costa laced an RBI-double into right-centerfield to tie the game at one-all.

In the next half inning, Buchanan would get a quick first out, but six of the next seven Maverick batters would reach base as MSU plated five runs to take a 6-1 lead. In the bottom of that third inning, the Muleriders would get one of the runs back as Jon Phillips singled into left field.

Despite the tough third inning, Buchanan would remain in the game and eventually pitched into the ninth inning as he held the Mavericks scoreless over the next five and a third innings. During that time of scoreless ball, Buchanan would scatter four hits and strike out six batters.

With Buchanan keeping the Mavericks at bay, the Muleriders remained within striking distance late in the game. In the bottom of the ninth, the Muleriders would put together their strongest scoring chance as they loaded the bases with one out. A bases-loaded walk to Phillips followed which brought the potential winning run to the plate, but consecutive strikeouts ended the Muleriders’ rally and the game.

In the final game of the season for the Boll Weevils, the most successful baseball season in University of Arkansas at Monticello history, the suffered an 8-6 loss to Augustana in the NCAA Division II Central Region Championship Tournament at Arkansas Tech University.

The Weevils (36-17) loaded the bases six times in the loss, including four times with one out. However, the team only managed single runs in the second, fourth, fifth and sixth innings before plating their final two runs in the top of the eighth to force a six-all tie. Augustana (41-15) scored a pair of go-ahead runs in the bottom of the eighth and held UAM scoreless in the top of the ninth after inducing a double play to end the game with the bases loaded.

UAM left a total of 19 runners on base in the loss after getting 10 hits, 10 walks and getting hit by a pitch six times.

Senior Chad Miller led the Weevils with 3-for-6 outing at the plate. Senior Alex Lang also posted a multi-hit performance with a 2-for-4 outing with a pair of runs batted in. Senior Ben Agredano went 1-for-3 with two walks and a hit-by-pitch. His RBI double in the top of the fourth inning was his 81st hit of the season and set a new UAM single season record.

Agredano opened the scoring by getting hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the second inning and added UAM’s second run with his school-record hit in the fourth. The Weevils plated a run off an Augustana error in the top of the fifth. Lang had RBIs in his final two at bats, a single to left in the seventh and getting hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the eighth. Senior D’Marco Poindexter accounted for UAM’s final run in the eight with an RBI single that bounced into the outfield off the pitcher’s mound.

Augustana was led by Marcus ONeill’s 4-for-5 outing at the plate. Tony Viger and Jacob James each added two hits for the Vikings. Augustana totaled 13 hits in the contest.

Junior Kregg Snook (5-2) took the loss in relief after giving up three runs off five hits in three innings of work. In addition to his two hits, Viger (2-1) also recorded the win on the mound after giving up three runs off three hits in 3.2 innings of relief. Of the seven pitchers sent to the mound for Augustana, Viger lasted the longest. No other pitcher had more than two innings on themound, including a pair that did not register an out before being pulled.

The Weevils broke school records in overall wins and conference wins during the 2014 season, in addition to capturing the program’s first NCAA tournament berth. In addition to Agredano’s record for hits in a single season, Snook became UAM’s new leader in single season pitching appearances. Friday’s appearance was Snook’s 30th of the season.




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