The University of Arkansas at Monticello baseball team became the winningest team in school history Thursday and secured the program’s first-ever NCAA tournament win in a 15-0 victory over Missouri Western State at Joe Faber Field in St. Cloud, Minnesota.
In Thursday’s win over Missouri Western (38-19), the UAM (37-14) surpassed the 2014 team in single-season victories. UAM finished at 36-17 overall.
UAM started its hit parade on Thursday in the bottom half of the third inning, batting through the lineup with four runs on six hits. The run producing at bats came from senior shortstop Evan Comeau, senior left fielder Kevin Fitzpatrick, senior catcher Travis Steinke and sophomore center fielder Brian Ray.
The Weevils hit through the lineup once again in the bottom of the fifth, this time plating five runs off four hits and two walks. The scoring came on two-run singles from Comeau and junior designated hitter Guy Halbert, and a one-run double from Ray.
UAM went up 12-0 in the sixth with doubles from senior right fielder Corey Wood, Ray and senior third baseman Nick Cerda.
The final three runs of the game came on home runs. The first was a two-run shot to center fielder from Wood in the bottom of the seventh, his 23rd of the season. The final run came on a solo shot to left field from Halbert, his second round-tripper of the season. Halbert’s first home run of the year came in UAM’s last outing, a 14-2 win over Henderson State in finals of the Great American Conference Championship Tournament.
UAM outhit the Griffons 18-4 in the contest. Ray led the Weevils with a perfect 5-for-5 performance. Comeau was 3-for-5. Wood was 3-for-5. Halbert and junior second baseman Nick Piraino went 2-for-5 each. It was UAM 26th game of the season with at least 10 hits and the 11th game of the year with at least 10 runs.
On the mound, senior Zach McKnight (9-2) kept the Griffons scoreless on four hits with seven strikeouts and only one walk in the first seven innings. Sophomore Landon McFadden finished out the shutout by facing only one over the minimum of striking out three batters in the final two innings.
In addition to already owning UAM’s single-season records for home runs and RBI, Wood broke a school record for runs in a single-season with four in Thursday’s win for a total of 58 overall this season.
No. 4 seed UAM takes on the winner of the No. 1 St. Cloud State/No. 8 Minnesota State on Friday at 5 p.m. at Joe Faber Field. Full coverage will be available at www.UAMsports.com/coverage.aspx. The game can be heard on the UAM Sports Network at KHBM-FM 93.7 in Monticello and is also available on Cablevision Channel 17 in Monticello and Warren.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]