For the third time in the past four years, the University of Arkansas at Monticello baseball team is headed back to the finals of the Great American Conference Championship Tournament following a 4-3 win over Arkansas Tech on Friday at Clyde Berry Field.
The win brings the Weevils (35-14) to within one victory of tying the 2014 record of wins in a single season and also means that UAM will have to be defeated twice on Saturday to miss out on the GAC championship and an automatic bid into next week’s NCAA regional tournament.
The GAC finals are set for Saturday at 1 p.m. against either No. 8 seed Arkansas Tech or No. 4 seed Henderson State. If necessary, the final game of the tournament will be played at 4 p.m. on Saturday.
In Friday’s win over Arkansas Tech (24-30), both teams pushed one across in the third inning. UAM started the rally in the top of the frame on an RBI single from senior shortstop Evan Comeau. The Wonder Boys answered in the bottom half on an RBI single from Kaleb Warden.
Tech took a 3-1 lead with two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning off a UAM error and a sac fly. UAM responded with two runs in the top of the sixth to force a 3-all tie. Senior catcher Travis Steinke had an RBI single, followed by an RBI fielder’s choice from senior first baseman Mitchell Dornblut.
The go-ahead and eventual game-winning run came across in the top of the ninth inning on a bases-loaded, RBI fielder’s choice from senior right fielder Corey Wood.
UAM senior relievers Ben Aldridge and Chad Bradford allowed only one Tech base runner in the final three innings. Bradford (1-1) earned the win after facing the minimum in the final two innings.
Both teams totaled six hits in the contest. After collecting three hits in Thursday’s win, Comeau followed up with a perfect 4-for-4 performance in Friday’s game against ATU.