Madison Beaird recorded a career-high four base hits and three Arkansas Tech pitchers combined on a shutout as the Wonder Boys defeated the Henderson State Reddies 7-0 in Gulf South Conference baseball at Tech Field on Saturday.
With the win, Arkansas Tech won the series over Henderson State two games to one. The two sides split a doubleheader on Friday.
The Wonder Boys (27-16 overall, 13-5 GSC) will enter the final weekend of regular season GSC play tied for first place in the GSC West Division. Harding (36-10, 13-5) defeated Delta State (28-16, 13-5) 11-10 on Saturday to forge a three-way tie atop the division standings.
Beaird (photographed) went 4-for-5. The sophomore left fielder from Russellville had RBI singles in the third and fifth innings to help the Wonder Boys build a 3-0 lead after five innings.
The sixth inning proved to be the pivotal frame on Saturday. Henderson State loaded the bases in the top of the sixth with one out, but Arkansas Tech relief pitcher Todd Immell struck out Lee Harris and induced a line out to second base by Kendal Norman to strand three Reddies on base.
That momentum carried over to the bottom of the sixth. Josh Riley started the rally with a one-out double. The Wonder Boys scored four runs on four hits, including an RBI single by Nate Wilder, an RBI double by Matt Johnson and a RBI triple by Beaird. Chris Reese walked and later scored on a wild pitch.
Johnson's sixth-inning double was his 85th hit of the 2011 season, breaking his own school record for base hits in season. He recorded 84 hits in 2010.
Arkansas Tech led 7-0 going to the seventh inning.
Henderson State went down in order in the seventh and ninth innings. The Reddies' only scoring threat in the closing innings came in the eighth. Two walks and a hit batsman put HSU in business, but the second pick-off by the Arkansas Tech defense on Saturday helped diffuse the situation.
Ted Nanez came out of the Wonder Boys' bullpen to get the final four outs as Arkansas Tech recorded its first shutout of the 2011 season. It was the Wonder Boys' first shutout since they defeated Christian Brothers 13-0 on March 28, 2010.
Mason Reynolds (3-1) was the winning pitcher on Saturday. He worked five and one-third innings and allowed five hits while striking out five.
Brittain Diamond (3-4) took the loss. He started on the mound for Henderson State and gave up seven runs on 10 hits in five and two-third innings.
Johnson was 2-for-3 with three runs scored for Arkansas Tech. He extended his hitting streak to 26 consecutive games.
Riley, Wilder and Nick Makris added two hits apiece. Makris had a first-inning RBI on a ground out.
The Wonder Boys will step out of conference play to face Lyon College in Batesville at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, April 26.
Arkansas Tech will close out GSC play by hosting Harding at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 30, and at 1 p.m. on Sunday, May 1.
Delta State will be at Henderson State next weekend.]]>