Arkansas Tech took the lead for good in the top of the seventh inning and then held on for a 7-4 win over the Harding Bisons in Great American Conference action at Jerry Moore Field in Searcy on Friday afternoon.
With the win, the Wonder Boys (19-21 overall, 8-8 GAC) took game one of a three-game series and claimed a share of fourth place in the GAC standings.
The two sides will complete their series with a doubleheader beginning at noon Saturday in Searcy. Both games can be heard on KCAB 980 AM.
Click here to access an Internet stream of the broadcast.
Arkansas Tech starter Aaron Luchterhand (4-5) pitched eight and one-third innings. He struck out a season-high batters nine while allowing four runs on nine hits.
Madison Beaird led the Tech offense by going 2-for-4 with four runs batted in.
With the score tied 3-3 after six innings, the speed of second baseman Cesar Abreu turned the game in the Wonder Boys' favor in the seventh inning.
Abreu sent a bounding ground ball to the right side of the infield with one out in the seventh. An error allowed him to advance all the way to third base, and Beaird drove him in with a sacrifice fly to center field to give the Wonder Boys a 4-3 lead.
Arkansas Tech added three insurance runs in the top of the ninth inning. Beaird drove in Scott Sammons with a fielder's choice, Chris Reese brought Zach Thomas home with a sacrifice fly and Landon Sullins knocked Beaird in with a single to make it 7-3 going to the bottom of the ninth.
Those insurance runs came in very handy. Tyler Stanford walked, Gabe Fyock singled and Chase Presley walked as the Bisons loaded the bases with one out.
Tech reliever Jonathan Finnegan got Billy Ninemire to hit into a fielder's choice. That play allowed pinch-runner McKinley Duke to score and cut the Wonder Boys' lead to 7-4, but it was also the second out of the inning.
Finnegan ended the game when the next hitter --- Kyle Atkins --- hit a line drive back to the mound. Finnegan was completing his follow-through toward the first-base side of the mound when he snagged the lined shot to end the game.
It was his fifth save in as many pitching appearances this season.
Finnegan started the game at first base and was 3-for-4 at the plate. Sullins and Thomas had two hits apiece.
Harding starting pitcher Lucas Waddell (5-3) took the loss after allowing six runs, five of which were earned, on 10 hits over eight and one-third innings.
The Bisons fell to 22-17 overall and 6-10 in league play with the loss.
Click here to learn more about Wonder Boys baseball.]]>