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Goals Within Reach for Wonder Boys

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all three games can be heard over the Internet. Admission to Tech Field will be free. Arkansas Tech has an opportunity over the next two weeks to remove two “nevers” from the story of its intercollegiate baseball program. First, the Wonder Boys have never made four consecutive baseball postseason appearances at the NCAA Division II level. They are part of a three-way tie for third place in the GAC standings with three regular season games remaining. The top six teams in the final league standings will advance to the GAC Tournament May 4-7 in Enid, Okla. There are several scenarios that could vault Arkansas Tech to its fourth straight postseason bid, but the most direct route to Enid for the Wonder Boys is to win at least one game against Harding and not have to rely on other teams for help. An even larger carrot was placed in front of Tech’s baseball team earlier this week when the first NCAA Division II Central Region rankings of the 2013 season were released. The Wonder Boys are listed No. 6 in that poll, which puts them squarely on the bubble for a bid to the NCAA Division II Baseball Tournament. Six teams will be invited to compete in the NCAA Division II Tournament Central Regional May 16-19. Arkansas Tech has never qualified for the NCAA Division II Baseball Tournament, but a successful weekend versus Harding followed up by a good showing at the GAC Tournament could change that. The Wonder Boys defeated the Bisons 2-1 on March 12 in a game that did not count in the conference standings. Arkansas Tech’s Thomas Biocic and Scott Sammons had two hits apiece that day, while Cole Fergus and Kenny Spencer both drove in a run for the Wonder Boys. Tech’s Colt Burns pitched four and two-thirds innings of scoreless relief to earn the win. Burns did not allow a hit and he struck out six Harding batters. The Wonder Boys are coming off a 2-of-3 games series victory over Henderson State University last weekend. Arkansas Tech starting pitcher Jake Bell tossed a 1-hitter to lead the Wonder Boys to a 6-1 victory in the deciding game of the series last Saturday. Harding also enters the final weekend of the regular season with a chance to punch its ticket for Enid. The Bisons are in the precarious sixth position in the GAC standings. They are only one game behind the three teams tied for third place --- Arkansas Tech, the University of Arkansas at Monticello (28-16, 16-11) and Henderson State (22-23, 16-11) --- and only one game in front of seventh-place Southeastern Oklahoma State University (22-18, 14-13). Harding bolstered its postseason hopes the last two weekends by taking 2-of-3 games from both Henderson State and Ouachita Baptist University. The anticipated starting pitching rotation for the Bisons this weekend consists of Cameron Walker (3-3, 3.22 earned run average), Hayden Shirley (7-4, 4.01 ERA) and Lucas Waddell (4-3, 4.73 ERA). Harding’s top hitter is Billy Ninemire, who will carry a .327 batting average and a school-record 15-game hitting streak into this weekend’s series. The anticipated starting pitching rotation for the Wonder Boys this weekend includes Ryan Taylor (8-3, 2.75 ERA), Mason Reynolds (2-5, 4.83 ERA) and Bell (6-1, 5.01 ERA). Cesar Abreu has the top batting average in the Tech line-up at .396. The Arkansas Tech-Harding series will mark the final home games for five Wonder Boys’ seniors (photographed, left-to-right) --- Drew Stanton, Sammons, Biocic, Jonathan Finnegan and Abreu.]]>