Tech baseball suffers first regular-season loss

coach and lass
LAURA BEANTHE ARKA TECH Coach Dave Dawson speaks with John Lassiter on third base at Tech Field last season.

Ouachita Baptist (6-4, 3-0 GAC) broke Arkansas Tech’s 17-game regular season winning streak as the Tigers pulled off the three-game sweep against the Wonder Boys (4-7, 0-3 GAC) in Arkadelphia on Friday and Saturday in the first Great American Conference matchup of both teams’ season.

Tech could only connect on three hits at the plate facing Ouachita’s Connor Eller (2-0), who pitched all seven innings in Friday’s 10-0 win over the Wonder Boys.

A pair of two-run RBI singles started the Tigers off in the first inning, and the Wonder Boys never were able to answer. OBU’s bats only got hotter in the second, knocking in yet another two-run RBI single through the right side, a RBI single to left field and a two-run RBI to the left side to give the Tigers a 9-0 lead.

Cody Jones (2-1) earned his first loss of the year in the start, giving up these nine runs on nine hits in only one and two-thirds innings pitched.

OBU added another run in the sixth, and Tech had no response.

Caleb McKinnon, Bryan Heward and Cole Fergus all tallied a hit, but this was no match for the Tigers’ 14 hits and nine RBIs.

Tech’s hitting improved greatly in the first game of Saturday’s double header, knocking in 14 hits and seven RBIs, but the Wonder Boys still suffered a 10-8 loss to OBU.

Kris Ayers batted 4-for-4 with two RBIs, but again the Tigers’ bats got hot early and put Tech in an insurmountable hole at the start.
Zach Skelton gave up seven hits and eight earned runs in one and one-third innings, making him 0-2 on the year.

OBU’s second batter hit a solo shot in the first inning to start off the scoring, and the home squad was quick to add seven more runs on a sacrifice fly, two-run single, two-run double, another sacrifice fly and a single shot that found its way through the left side.

The Wonder Boys’ offense made a valiant effort at a comeback starting in the third, and their attempt was supported by Trent Armstrong and Nate Rutherford coming out of the bullpen, who combined for four and two-thirds scoreless innings and only five hits allowed.

ollin O’Neil put Tech on the board for the first time in the series with an RBI single. In the fifth,Tech scored an unearned run on an error by the third baseman, and two batters later Patrick Castleberry ( 2/4, two RBIs) hit an RBI triple to make it 8-3.

Two solo home runs in the sixth from Ayers and Marcus Wilson (2/3, one RBI, three runs) brought the Wonder Boys closer, and Castleberry added another home run in the seventh to make it 8-6 and give the visitors real hope.
But Ouachita added just enough distance in the seventh with a solo home run of its own, and in the eighth the Tigers scored on an error at second base.

Tech looked as if it would come back in the ninth, as Ayers hit an RBI sacrifice fly and Mark Vaughn an RBI single, but the tying runner in scoring position could never be brought in and OBU held on for the win.

In Saturday’s second game, the Wonder Boys were only able to eke out two hits off of John Matros (2-0), who pitched a full seven innings in OBU’s 4-1 win.

Castleberry smacked a solo shot in the first inning to give Tech its only lead of the series, but a two-run double in the fourth and a two-run single in the fifth would give the Tigers all it needed to claim the sweep.

Aaron Johnson earned his first loss of the year on the mound through four innings work, giving up four runs on four hits and striking out three.

Tech will return home to play Henderson State University in a three-game series starting at 7 p.m. Friday.