Photo Courtesy: UAM Athletics
ENID, Okla. (GAC) - Arkansas-Monticello took the lead early against Harding then withstood numerous rallies by the Bisons to advance to its first-ever baseball tournament title game with a 4-2 victory in Tuesday's first Great American Conference Baseball Championship contest from David Allen Memorial Ballpark.
The Boll Weevils (32-19) opened the game with a run in the first inning. Ben Agredano drove home Taylor Eaves with a single through the left side. They added a pair of unearned runs in the second inning. A throwing error off of a sacrifice bunt let UAM to score a pair of runs without the benefit of a hit. Chad Miller scored on a ground out and Tyler Caruthers, who reached courtesy of the error, scored on a ground out by D'Marco Poindexter.
UAM added to its advantage with a run in the fourth inning. Hunter Allday continued to hit well against Bisons' pitching. His sacrifice fly plated Tyler Caruthers. He went 2-for-3 on Tuesday and In five games against the Bisons, Allday hit .474 (9-for-19).
Harding finally broke through against Boll Weevil starter Logan Johnson in the sixth when James Anderson drove home Todd Wooldridge on a sacrifice fly. The inning ended with Erin McCarver flying out to the wall in left field. An inning later, the Bisons again put two runners on with two out for Matt Calhoun. Like McCarver, Calhoun came up just short in his attempt to tie the game as he flew out to the warning track in right field.
In the eighth inning, the Bisons brought the go-ahead run to the plate but UAM reliever Brent Noble induced a double play off the bat of Paul Anzalone. Eaves stepped on third and threw to first to complete the play.
The Bisons (29-22) rallied one final time in ninth inning. Billy Ninemire brought the Bisons to within 4-2 on an RBI single. Noble closed out the game by forcing Jeremy Bohnett to ground out to second. The Bisons left 12 runners on base. For the Championship, Harding shortstop Gabe Fyock hit .667. He went 10-for-15 in the four games.
The Boll Weevils will play for their first ever baseball tournament championship when the face the GAC's regular-season champion and top seed, Southern Arkansas at 3:30 p.m. The Muleriders beat the Boll Weevils, 11-2, on Monday. SAU has won four of the five meetings with Arkansas-Monticello this year.