Southern Arkansas scored at least one run in each of its final four turns at bat to defeat the University of Arkansas at Monticello 6-2 in the Great American Conference championship game Tuesday at the David Allen Memorial Ballpark in Enid, Okla.
SAU (38-17) started its late-inning rally with an RBI groundout from Josh Rodriguez in the top of the sixth inning to force a 2-all tie. SAU’s Carver Rademacher hit a go-ahead two-run homerun to left field in the seventh, and a solo shot from Jackson McCurdy in the top of the ninth finalized the scoring.
UAM (36-15) opened the scoring on an RBI single from junior Bronson Gillam in the bottom of the first inning. Senior Alex Lang was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the fourth to account for UAM’s final RBI.
The Muleriders trimmed its deficit to one run in the fourth off a balk from UAM starter Kade Garlington with runners at the corners.
Senior Jeff Harvill (2-2) took the loss for UAM in relief after giving up three runs off just one hit in 1.1 innings of work. SAU’s Yumezo Densaki (5-3) earned the win in complete-game fashion by surrendering two runs off six hits with six strikeouts and two walks in nine innings on the mound.
UAM’s Ray Johnson, Travis Steinke and Evan Comeau were named to the GAC Championship All-Tournament Team. Comeau led the Weevils in the tournament with nine hits in 19 at bats for a .474 tournament batting average. Steinke hit .462 with six hits in 13 at bats, including a pair of doubles. Johnson finished at .333 over the five games with seven hits in 21 at bats.
The Weevils finish as the GAC Tournament Runner-Up for the second consecutive season. With Tuesday’s championship game win, Southern Arkansas has claimed an automatic bid into the NCAA Division II Central Regional Tournament, which takes the top six teams from each region. UAM is ranked No. 3 in the latest regional poll.
The NCAA selection show will air at NCAA.com on Sunday, May 11 at 9 p.m. The regional tournament, usually hosted by the top seed, will be held May 15-18.