Hillcats Use Long Ball to Top Tech

Rogers State put a damper on Arkansas Tech’s baseball senior day festivities by defeating the Wonder Boys 9-5 in non-conference action at Tech Field on Thursday night.

The Hillcats (27-19) hit three home runs as they prevented Arkansas Tech (34-17) from breaking its school record for wins in a season on its home field.

The 2010 Wonder Boys will enter the postseason tied with the 1994 Wonder Boys with 34 wins apiece.

Rogers State jumped out to a 3-0 lead on Colton West’s three-run home run to right field in the top of the first inning.

West hit another home run — this one a two-run shot — in the top of the third inning to make it 5-0.

Three batters later Jairo Valdez hit a two-run homer of his own to give the Hillcats a 7-0 edge.

Rogers State’s early thunder was too much for the Wonder Boys to overcome.

Clint Stroud and Matt Johnson had three hits apiece for Arkansas Tech. Nick Makris, Anthony Gower and Tyler Taunton added two hits apiece and Makris drove in two runs, but none of it was enough to dig Arkansas Tech out of its early hole.

Johnson now has 78 hits on the season, which is a new school record. Dario Colovic held the old record with 77 hits in 2005.

Rogers State’s Tyler Garner (7-6) allowed just one unearned run on five hits in three innings to earn the victory on the mound.

Tech’s Zach Thomas (1-1) surrendered three runs on two hits in one inning and was tagged with the loss.

West finished 4-for-5 with seven runs batted in for the Hillcats.

Arkansas Tech honored its nine baseball seniors during a pre-game ceremony. They are (front row, from left): Anthony Gower, Clint Stroud, Chad Wynn, Josh Floriani; (back row, from left) Joe Walton, Tyler Taunton, Sammy Hassen, Jeremy Houchin and Tyler Kellar.

The Wonder Boys will open play in the 2010 Gulf South Conference Tournament at 9:30 a.m. Saturday with a first-round game against North Alabama.

Radio station KCAB 980 AM and www.athletics.atu.edu will have a live play-by-play description of the game.