The University of Arkansas at Monticello baseball team secured a trip to the Great American Conference Tournament and a series win over conference-rival Southern Arkansas after splitting a twin bill on the road Saturday. The Weevils rode the long ball to a 6-2 win in game one before falling 8-4 in game two.
UAM moves to 19-16 overall on the season and 17-13 in GAC play while SAU is now 25-12 and 21-9.
Game One: UAM 6, SAU 2
River Hunt got the call for the Weevils on the mound to start the first game of the day and he had plenty of traffic on the bases early.
In the bottom of the first inning, Hunt worked around a pair of free passes to keep the game scoreless after one. One inning later, SAU managed to capitalize on its baserunners plating one run, but Hunt limited the damage stranding two on base.
UAM responded in the top of the third on a bases loaded sacrifice fly by Jordan Johnson that scored Grant Shepherd to tie the game.
In the next frame, the Weevils took their first lead when Hudson Hopkins launched a solo home run out to left center field.
Hunt put together a shutdown inning in the bottom of the frame working his first 1-2-3 inning of the game in the fourth.
Johnson extended the UAM lead in the top of the fifth sending a two-run shot over the wall in left center to put the Weevils up 4-1.
The Weevils turned to the bullpen to start the bottom half of the sixth bringing in Jared Roberts in relief of Hunt. The lefty made quick work in his first frame retiring the Muleriders in order.
In the seventh inning, Dylan Borman padded the UAM advantage with a two-run blast to left field.
Roberts kept the SAU offense quiet in the seventh and eight before the Muleriders attempted to rally in the ninth. SAU scratched one run across in the final frame, but Roberts closed the door for the Weevils to hold on for the 6-2 win and secure the series victory. The win also clinched a berth in the GAC Tournament for the Weevils.
The long ball paced the UAM offense in game one as Borman and Johnson each hit two-run homers while Hopkins added a solo blast.
Hunt (W, 8-0) picked up the win allowing just one run on three hits and striking out nine in 5.0 innings pitched.
Roberts (S, 3) earned a 4.0-inning save punching out six while giving up one run on three hits.
Jacob Womack (L, 6-1) took the loss surrendering five runs on eight hits in 6.1 innings on the mound.
Game Two: SAU 8, UAM 4
The Weevils were the first on the scoreboard in the second game of the twin bill. An RBI-groundout by Audy Clary scored Aaron Gaela to deliver UAM the early lead.
SAU responded in the bottom of the frame against UAM starter Matt Lundh going in front on a pair of home runs to score five runs in the inning. UAM called upon Connor Wilkerson out of the bullpen to close out the inning recording the final out.
In the next half inning, UAM quickly began chipping away at the deficit. Piraino knocked an RBI-single into right center scoring Cole Muckleroy to cut the score to 5-2.
UAM continued to cut into the SAU lead in the fifth after a single by Shepherd and a double by Muckleroy to lead off the inning set up a sacrifice fly by Piraino and an RBI-single by Johnson to put the Weevils within one.
Wilkerson allowed the first damage of his appearance in the bottom of the fifth on a two-run shot by the Muleriders that pushed the score 7-4.
In the sixth inning SAU added another run against UAM reliever Ojani Chacon who took over on the bump to begin the frame.
Back-to-back one-out singles by Johnson and Borman brought the tying run into the on deck circle for the Weevils, but no runs would cross the plate in the frame as UAM ultimately fell 8-4.
Borman led the Weevils with three hits in the contest while Piraino paced UAM with two RBI.
Lundh (L, 0-3) took the loss after allowing five runs on three hits in 1.2 innings in his start.
Wilkerson worked 3.1 innings out of the bullpen allowing two runs on five hits and striking out four.
Chacon pitched 1.0 inning of relief and allowed one run on one hit.
Remy Bilodeau (W, 5-1) picked up the win for SAU surrendering four runs on nine hits in 4.2 innings pitched.
The Weevils are back on the road Friday, May 7 to begin a three-game series against Southwestern Oklahoma State. First pitch for game one is set for 2 p.m.