An eight-run rally in the top of the ninth propels the University of Arkansas at Monticello baseball team to a comeback victory over Southwestern Oklahoma State Saturday. The Weevils overcame a four-run deficit in the final two innings scoring one run in the eighth and eight more in the ninth to take the series rubber match against the Bulldogs 19-14.
UAM improves to 21-17 overall on the season and 19-14 in Great American Conference play while SWOSU drops to 21-17 and 17-16.
The Weevils fell behind early as the Bulldogs jumped Connor Wilkerson in the first inning. SWOSU put up five runs on three hits including a three-run home run in the frame.
In the next frame UAM was able to respond thanks to a two-run blast by Nick Fakouri that cut the deficit to three runs. A throwing error later in the frame allowed Cole Muckleroy to cross the plate and make the score 5-3.
One inning later Audy Clary cut the Weevils’ deficit to one run with an RBI-single into left field that scored Jordan Johnson.
SWOSU put one run on the scoreboard win the bottom of the third against Wilkerson.
The Weevils bounced right back again in the next frame this time taking their first lead of the contest. Andrew Piraino doubled to center field to score one run before Johnson tied the game with a sacrifice fly to score Aaron Gaela. Two batters later Hudson Hopkins put UAM on top with an RBI-groundout that scored Piraino. The Weevils then executed a double steal with two outs that allowed Dylan Borman to swipe home plate making the score 8-6.
In the bottom of the inning the Bulldogs got one run back, but UAM turned right back around adding two runs on a dropped fly ball in the top of the fifth pushing its advantage to three runs.
SWOSU opened the bottom of the fifth with a walk and a two-run home run before Wilkerson managed to retire the next two batters. However, the next two hitters worked two-out walks which put an end to Wilkerson’s day on the mound as UAM called on Trent Bunting from the bullpen. Bunting walked the first two batters he faced which brought in the tying run before giving up a three-run double and an RBI-single in the next two at bats.
After working a scoreless inning in the sixth, Bunting was replaced on the bump by Shane Fontenot to start the seventh.
Down to their final six outs, the Weevils trailed 14-10 in the top of the eighth. Clary cut the deficit to three runs with a two-out RBI single in the frame, but that was all for the Weevils heading to the ninth down 14-11.
Back-to-back walks and a single loaded the bases for UAM to start the ninth. Johnson brought home the first run of the frame reaching on a fielder’s choice that scored Muckleroy from third. Borman followed with a sacrifice fly cutting the deficit to one run with two outs. Hudson Hopkins picked up a two-out single that set the table for Fakouri’s second long ball of the game – a three-run shot to left field that put the Weevils in front 16-14. The offense did not end there as three hitters later Muckleroy drove in one with an infield single then in the next at bat Gaela roped a two-run double to right field pushing the Weevils’ lead to five runs.
Two hitters managed to reach base against Fontenot in the bottom of the ninth, but the senior closed the door with a ground out and a strikeout as UAM completed the comeback for a 19-14 win.
Fakouri paced the offensive outpour for the Weevils launching a pair of home runs and driving in five runs in the contest. Clary also posted a strong day at the plate going 4-of-6 with two runs driven in.
Fontenot (W, 1-0) earned the win after dealing three scoreless frames and picking up a pair strikeouts.
Chase Hamilton (L, 0-3) ended with the loss surrendering six runs on five hits while only recording two outs in the ninth.
The Weevils will play Northwestern Oklahoma State in the first round of the GAC Tournament Friday, May 14. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.