Southern Arkansas Sweeps Wonder Boys

Nationally third-ranked Southern Arkansas took command of the Gulf South Conference West Division baseball race by sweeping a doubleheader from the Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys at Tech Field in Russellville on Saturday.

The Muleriders (32-3 overall, 11-0 GSC) defeated Arkansas Tech by scores of 13-6 and 7-5 to complete a three-game series sweep of the Wonder Boys (25-14, 7-4).

With the losses, Tech falls into third place in the GSC West Division with three weeks remaining in the regular season. The top four teams in the final GSC West standings will advance to the GSC Tournament May 1-5 in Millington, Tenn.

Southern Arkansas took a 3-1 lead in the third inning of game one on a two-run home run by Logan Williams.

The Muleriders added another run in the fourth inning to make it 4-1. A two-run single by Jake Astor in the sixth inning and a two-run triple by Nick Paschal in the seventh helped SAU pull away for a 10-1 lead.

The Wonder Boys fought back behind a three-run home run by Clint Stroud in the bottom of the seventh and a two-run homer by Nick Makris in the bottom of the eighth, but the SAU offensive juggernaut would not be denied.

The Muleriders finished with 16 hits in game one on Saturday. Seven of those were for extra bases.

SAU starting pitcher Hayden Simpson (9-0) gave up a run for the first time since Feb. 20 and an earned run for the first time since Feb. 13, but he lasted six innings to pick up the win. Simpson struck out six.

Tech starter Caleb Powers (6-1) was tagged with his first loss of the season after allowing six runs on 10 hits in five and one-third innings.

Stroud was 2-of-2 with four RBIs in Saturday’s first game. Makris was 2-of-3 with two RBIs. Matt Johnson and Colt Loehrs added two hits apiece.

Game two looked like another SAU runaway after the Muleriders took a 5-0 lead after three innings.

Stroud got the Wonder Boys on the board with an RBI double in the bottom of the fourth, and Chris Reese got Tech back in the game with a three-run homer later in the inning. SAU’s advantage was trimmed to 5-4.

But as was their trademark all weekend long, the Muleriders answered immediately. SAU’s Gavan McCauley singled with two outs in the top of the fifth. He went to second on a throwing error, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on another throwing error to make it 6-4.

Astor gave the Muleriders an insurance run with an RBI single in the top of the sixth.

Loehrs notched an RBI double in the bottom of the sixth to get the Wonder Boys within 7-5. Landon Sullins followed with a two-out single.

That proved to be Tech’s last base runner. SAU starting pitcher Dan Bream retired the last four men he saw to hold the Wonder Boys off.

Bream (6-1) struck out seven Tech hitters over seven innings. Tech’s Chad Wynn (1-2) took the loss after surrendering five runs, four of which were earned, over four and one-third innings.

The Wonder Boys will host the University of the Ozarks for a 6 p.m. non-conference game at Tech Field on Tuesday night.

Tech will return to GSC play next Saturday and Sunday when it hosts Ouachita Baptist for a three-game series.