No. 3 SAU Tops Tech 18-14 in Series Opener

Nationally third-ranked Southern Arkansas out-slugged the Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys to post an 18-14 victory on Friday in game one of a three-game Gulf South Conference series at Tech Field in Russellville.

The Muleriders (30-3 overall, 9-0 GSC) collected 17 base hits and they scored in six of the nine innings as they won their 19th consecutive game.

Arkansas Tech (25-12, 7-2) took a 1-0 lead on Nick Makris’ home run in the bottom of the first, but SAU scored four runs in the top of the third inning and led the rest of the way.

The Muleriders looked poised to pull away when they scored three runs in the top of the fourth to make it 7-1.

Tech’s Makris delivered a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fourth, a two-run single in the bottom of the fifth and a two-run triple in the sixth to help keep the Wonder Boys in it. SAU led 14-12 after six innings.

That was as close as Arkansas Tech could get. The Muleriders sent nine men to the plate and scored three runs in the top of the eighth to pull away for a 17-12 advantage. Logan Williams’ fourth RBI of the game — a sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth — increased SAU’s lead to 18-12.

The Wonder Boys made it interesting in the bottom of the ninth. Josh Riley drove in a run with a ground out and Chad Wynn notched a two-out RBI single to make it 18-14.

Tech’s Matt Johnson — who extended his hitting streak to 21 games with a fourth-inning single — followed with a drive into deep right-center field. But SAU center fielder Gavan McCauley chased it down and made the catch for the final out of the game.

Bryan Dixon (2-0) pitched two innings of relief for Southern Arkansas and was credited as the winning pitcher. Tech starting pitcher Josh Floriani (8-1) was saddled with the loss.

Makris was 4-for-4 with six RBIs. Wynn had three hits and Joe Walton drove in two runs for the Wonder Boys.

SAU’s Williams finished 4-for-6. Cannon Lester was 3-for-7 with four RBIs and three runs scored. Andrew Whittington was 3-for-5 with five runs scored for the Muleriders.

Game two of Friday’s scheduled doubleheader was rained out and postponed until Saturday.

Tech and SAU will now play a doubleheader at 2 p.m. Saturday at Tech Field.

Admission will be free. Radio station KCAB 980 AM and will have live play-by-play coverage.