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School Record for Baseball Wins in Danger

Arkansas Tech’s 2010 baseball season is certainly proof of the old adage that records are made to be broken. The Wonder Boys (33-14 overall, 13-4 Gulf South Conference) have the most noteworthy baseball school record of all --- the single-season record for wins --- in their sights as they head to Jerry Moore Field in Searcy for a three-game series against the Harding Bisons this weekend.  The schedule for the series has been adjusted because of the threat of heavy rain overnight on Friday.

Current plans are to play one game at 2 p.m. Saturday and a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Radio station KCAB 980 AM and www.athletics.atu.edu will have live coverage of the series. Check with www.athletics.atu.edu and www.arkansastechnews.com over the weekend for any further weather-related changes to the schedule. The 1994 Wonder Boys registered a school-record 34 wins, and that mark has stood for 16 years. It seems unlikely that it will stand for much longer.  The 2010 Wonder Boys are sitting on 33 wins. After its three-game set at Harding this weekend, Tech will return home to conclude the regular season with a 2 p.m. non-conference doubleheader against College of the Ozarks (Mo.) at Tech Field on Tuesday. If the wins record falls, it will not be the first time that Arkansas Tech’s 2010 baseball team has grabbed a piece of history. The Wonder Boys have already broken single-season school records for base hits (545), runs scored (450), runs batted in (383), triples (24) and stolen bases (130).

Tech needs 16 doubles to break the season record in that category, which was set by the 2003 Wonder Boys with 109 two-base hits.

The team batting average record of .357 by the 1981 Wonder Boys is also in danger. Arkansas Tech is hitting .355 as a team in 2010.

If they can topple the doubles and batting average marks, the 2010 Wonder Boys will own every major offensive record in the school record book except home runs.

And while all the records are nice, of more pressing concern for head coach Dave Dawson and his team is clinching the No. 2 seed in the GSC Tournament.

The Wonder Boys need one win over Harding or one Delta State loss to GSC West Division champion Southern Arkansas this weekend in order for Tech to earn that No. 2 seed.

The GSC Tournament is scheduled for May 1-5 at USA Stadium in Millington, Tenn. The Wonder Boys will be part of that event for the first time since 2007.

Harding (23-23, 7-10) would also love to spend the first week of May in Millington, but the Bisons’ postseason hopes are dim entering the final weekend of the regular season.

Henderson State (28-16, 9-8) has a two-game lead over Harding in the race for the fourth and final berth from the GSC West in the GSC Tournament. SAU (38-4, 17-0), Tech and DSU (32-13-1, 11-6) have already wrapped up the other three spots.

The Bisons’ postseason aspirations are further darkened by two facts.

First, Henderson State swept Harding during their three-game series and thus holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Bisons should the two teams finish tied for fourth place.

And second, the Reddies are hosting Arkansas-Monticello this weekend. The Boll Weevils are 20-23 overall, 4-13 in league play and losers of 13 of their last 14 games against peer NCAA Division II opponents.

So the only hope for Harding is that it sweeps Arkansas Tech and Arkansas-Monticello sweeps Henderson State. Otherwise, the Reddies will go to the GSC Tournament and the Bisons will stay home. For the Wonder Boys, there is one other factor looming on the horizon that will serve as motivation this weekend that has nothing to do with the GSC West standings or school records --- it has to do with an even more significant possibility. Arkansas Tech is ranked No. 6 in this week’s NCAA Division II South Region rankings, the tool used to determine the participants in the NCAA Division II Baseball Tournament. The Wonder Boys have never played in the NCAA Baseball Tournament. Eight teams will be selected for the NCAA Division II South Regional, which will be played May 13-17 at an on-campus location. Three wins in Searcy this weekend would serve as three big steps toward Arkansas Tech’s first-ever appearance in that event.

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