Wonder Boys win in walk-off fashion

After losing back-to-back games in Saturday’s double header against No. 13 Henderson State (8-2, 4-2 GAC), Arkansas Tech (5-9, 1-5 GAC) won the third game after the Reddies hit the final two Wonder Boys batters with the bases loaded, allowing the walk off run to score in the bottom of the ninth of Sunday’s 6-5 Great American Conference victory at Tech Field.

Tech fell 8-6 in the first game Saturday despite posting a five-run third inning.

The Reddies got on the board first with a ground out RBI in the opening inning and a RBI-single shot up the middle in the top of the third.

Bryan Heward started the rally in the bottom half of the third with a sacrifice fly RBI. Kris Ayers (1/4, 2 RBIs) followed up the run with a two-run double to right center. Collin O’Neil then reached on a throwing error by the third baseman, and Ayers scored. The final run of the inning came on Blake Owen’s (1/3, 1RBI) RBI single.

HSU tied the game 5-all in the fifth with three runs coming from a RBI single, a walk and a sacrifice ground out.

In the sixth, Patrick Castleberry grounded out to short but the hit scored the runner on third to take the last lead Tech would have in the game.

The Reddies again tied things at 6-6 with a sacrifice fly in the seventh and added a pair of RBI singles to left field in the eighth to clinch the win.

Aaron Johnson started through four innings and gave up three hits and five runs (four earned). Bryan Morris (0-2) got the loss on the mound after coming in in the eighth, facing four batters and giving up three hits and two runs.

Tech lost 8-3 in the seven-inning second game.

Hitting was again slack in the latter game, as the Wonder Boys were only able to conjure up seven hits and two earned runs. The top performers at the plate over the course of both games were Keenan Jumper (5-for-6, 2 doubles), Mark Vaughn (3 hits) and Ayers (2 hits, 2 runs and 3 RBIs).

Tech scored the first run unearned in the opening innings and would keep the game close early. The Reddies answered in the third with a two-run single and a RBI double, but Tech tied the game back up 3-3 in the bottom half on an Ayers RBI double and a fielding error.

Nerves became rattled, and Tech gave up consecutive runs on wild pitches in the sixth and seventh innings. HSU would then tack on three more runs in the seventh, and the Wonder Boys had no answer.

Cody Jones got the start on the mound and made it through five, giving up six hits and three runs while fanning seven. Ryan Vruggink (2-1) got the loss after two innings, five hits and five runs (three earned).

Tech’s Sunday win started off quiet, neither team scoring until the fifth inning. Trent Armstrong held on strong through 5.2 innings of work, his only two runs given up coming from two of the last three batters he faced.

Rafiel Johnson (1/2, 1 RBI) started things off with a RBI single in the top of the fifth, which was followed by an unearned run from a fielding error.

HSU scored two runs in the sixth on a RBI single to right center and a sacrifice fly. AnotherRBI single in the seventh gave the Reddies a 3-2 lead.

Tech regained the lead with a pair of RBI doubles in the eighth from Heward (1/4, 2 RBIs) and Jumper (1/3, 1 RBI).
In the top of the ninth, HSU scored on a RBI single and a throwing error by the shortstop that would result in an unearned run and a 5-4 Reddie lead heading into the bottom half.

HSU’s closer couldn’t get it done on the mound though, and both Ayers and Heward took one from the pitcher to get the Wonder Boys a win at home.

Tech will travel to play Southern Nazarene (3-7, 2-4 GAC) in a three-game series starting at 2 p.m. Friday.