The University of Arkansas at Monticello baseball team returns to Weevils Field this weekend for a three-game Great American Conference series against Arkansas Tech.
The series opens with a single game on Friday, March 27 at 2 p.m. followed by a double-header on Saturday at noon.
UAM (10-9, 7-6 GAC) is coming off two losses out of three games against Ouachita Baptist this past Monday and Tuesday. Monday’s split in Monticello was in GAC action, while Tuesday’s loss in Arkadelphia was a non-conference game. UAM enters the weekend tied for fifth in the GAC standings.
After starting the season 4-9, Arkansas Tech (17-12, 5-6 GAC) has won 13 of its last 16 games, including a four-game non-conference sweep over Augustana College and GAC series wins over East Central and Southeastern Oklahoma State. Most recently, Tech split a non-conference double-header at Oklahoma Christian this past Tuesday. Tech is currently eighth in the GAC standings.
UAM is ranked 10th in the GAC in hitting (.253 batting average) and third in team pitching (3.85 ERA). Individually, junior Kevin Fitzpatrick has risen to the top of UAM’s leaderboard with multi-hit performances in five of the last six games, including a pair of 3-for-4 outing against Ouachita. His overall .432 batting average would lead the GAC if he met the stat minimum of 2.5 at bats per game for the entire season. He made his way into the everyday lineup at the end of February.
Junior Corey Wood follows Fitzpatrick at .373, which ranks fifth in the GAC. Wood leads UAM in total hits (25), extra base hits (11), RBI (19), and total bases (45). Redshirt freshman Brian Ray is also hitting above the 300 mark at .328.
On the mound, junior reliever Ben Aldridge continues to lead the GAC in ERA at 1.52 with a 1-0 record and one save in 11 appearances. Junior starter Zach McKnight ranks third in the league with a 3-1 record and a 2.03 ERA. Senior starter Austin Braddock ranks fifth with a 5-1 record and a 2.13 ERA.
Arkansas Tech comes to Monticello ranked second in the GAC in team batting (.298) and ninth in team pitching (5.48 ERA). The Wonder Boys have six players hitting above .300, led by Keenan Jumper, who ranks sixth in the GAC with a .369 batting average. Bryan Heward follows at .364. Tech’s Patrick Castleberry is hitting .360 this season and leads the GAC in homeruns (10) and runs scored (30).
Arkansas Tech has used six different starting pitchers throughout the season. UAM can expect to see Cody Jones (5-1, 6.37 ERA), Trent Armstrong (2-1, 4.00 ERA) and Aaron Johnson (1-1, 5.69 ERA) as starters during this weekend’s series.