The 15th-ranked University of Arkansas at Monticello baseball team used a five-run fifth inning to record an 8-5 victory over Northwestern Oklahoma State on Sunday and claim the first Great American Conference series of the 2014 season.
After sophomore Travis Steinke and junior Austin Braddock each collected RBI singles to trim UAM’s deficit to one run in the top of the fifth, sophomore Corey Wood drove those two across the plate as well as himself on a three-run homerun to give the Weevils a 6-4 lead. The Rangers answered in the bottom of the fifth with their fifth and final run on an RBI single from Calvin Ellis.
UAM opened the scoring in the top of the first on an RBI groundout by senior Ben Agredano to plate senior D’Marco Poindexter, who led off the game with a single and stole second to get into scoring position.
All of NWOSU’s first four runs crossed the plate with help from UAM starting pitcher Austin Braddock, who did not allow a hit in his 3.2 innings of work, but did give up four walks and hit five batters.
UAM added a pair of insurance runs in the top of the ninth on an RBI single by senior Ray Johnson and a wild pitch from NWOSU reliever Dan Bolanos to allow Braddock to score from third. Braddock singled earlier in the inning and moved to third on Johnson’s single.
Sophomore Gavin Johnston (1-0) picked up the win in relief for UAM after allowing just one run off six hits with three strikeouts and no walks in the middle three innings. Senior Jeff Harvill picked up his second save of the season after striking out two in the ninth and walking one in the ninth. Junior Kregg Snook held the UAM lead, forcing four popups in his inning and a third of relief.
NWOSU starter Joe Coto (2-1) took the loss after giving up six runs off eight hits with four strikeouts and five walks in the first five innings.
UAM ended the game with a 10-6 edge in total hits. Braddock went 3-for-5 and Wood finished 2-for-3 with two walks.
The Weevils are back in action on Tuesday (Feb. 18) on the road against Arkansas State for one game starting at 4 p.m. in Jonesboro.