The Arka Tech

Tech outscores Northwestern Oklahoma 34-5

LAURA BEAN/THE ARKA TECH: Kris Ayers waits for a strike during a recent home game at Tech Field.

LAURA BEAN/THE ARKA TECH: Kris Ayers waits for a strike during a recent home game at Tech Field.

Arkansas Tech (27-17, 13-10 GAC) swept Northwestern Oklahoma State (17-27, 8-19 GAC) 3-0 in a Great American Conference series on Sunday and Monday at Tech Field.

The Wonder Boys combined offensively for 39 total hits and outscored the Rangers 34-5.

Tech started off the series on Sunday with a 15-1 win that ended the game in the seventh inning.

Senior catcher Kennan Jumper led offensively, going 4-for-4 with three RBIs. Junior shortstop Collin O’Neil (two RBIs) and senior center fielder Rafiel Johnson (four RBIs) both went 3-for-4 at the plate, while freshman third baseman Mark Vaughn and senior first baseman Patrick Castleberry each got two hits.

The Wonder Boys started hot and never slowed down, going ahead 4-0 in the second inning on a single from Jumper and a pair of RBIs from Johnson and Vaughn.

Castleberry hit a solo shot to start the third, and a two-run RBI single to center field from O’Neil pushed the lead to seven.
A two-run single to left field by Jumper in the fourth, followed by two unearned runs in the fifth, made it 11-0 before NWOSU got on the board with a solo homer in the top of the sixth. Tech scored four more runs in the bottom half on a bases-loaded walk, a two-run double and a sacrifice fly.

Sophomore Trent Armstrong (5-1) finished off his full-game performance by retiring the side and forcing the run rule to come into play. Armstrong gave up five hits and one earned run while fanning five.

Tech again enforced the run rule in Monday’s opener, winning 16-2 and ending the game after seven innings. It was junior Cody Jones (7-2) who this time pitched a full game to earn the win. Jones allowed 10 hits but only two earned runs while fanning five.

LAURA BEAN/The Arka Tech: Connor Brady throws to first during a recent home game at Tech Field.

Vaughn was 4-for-5 with four RBIs and senior right fielder Bryan Heward was 3-for-5 with three RBIs.

A two-run RBI in the third by Castleberry was answered in the fourth with a RBI single from the Rangers. But in the bottom half, Vaughn drove in two runs on a double to right field and senior designated hitter Kris Ayers followed up with a three-run home run that brought the score to 7-1.

Vaughn and Castleberry added two RBIs a piece in the fifth, and though NWOSU managed to put up another run in the sixth, Tech squashed any hopes of a comeback with five runs in the bottom half, three of which came on a home run from Heward.

The evening game was the only contest of the series, as the Wonder Boys needed 10 innings and three pitchers to pull off the 3-2 win.

NWOSU earned its first lead of the series when it scored a run on a double in the second. Tech rallied back, scoring on a wild pitch in the third and an O’Neil single in the fourth. The Rangers leveled the score at 2-2 in the seventh on a single to center field.

Sophomore left fielder Marcus Wilson ended the game and clinched the series sweep with a walk-off single to left field.

Johnson handled the bulk of the action on the mound, pitching six innings, giving up five hits and two earned runs and fanning three. Junior Ryan Vruggink then saw three innings of work and allowed five hits and no runs scored. Senior Randy Vallejo earned his second win of the season after pitching one inning and allowing no hits or runs.

Tech will host its final conference series before the GAC tournament against Harding (26-19, 17-7 GAC) on Friday and Saturday.