A three-run rally by Southeastern Oklahoma State in the top of the seventh inning was the difference in a 7-4 Savage Storm win over the Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys in the second round of the Great American Conference Baseball Tournament at David Allen Memorial Ballpark in Enid, Okla., on Saturday night.
Southeastern Oklahoma State (34-15) advances to the winners' bracket final at 12:30 p.m. Sunday against Southern Arkansas (34-14).
Arkansas Tech (26-26) will face an elimination game against Ouachita Baptist (27-25) at 4 p.m. Sunday. That game can be heard on KWKK 100.9 FM and over the Internet by clicking here.
The turning point in Saturday night's game came with the score tied 4-4 in the top of the seventh inning. Tech starting pitcher Caleb Powers (5-5) walked Kevin Phillips with one out and was then relieved by fellow right-hander Brandon Arata.
Arata hit the first two batters he faced --- Cameron Green and Dalton Nelson --- to load the bases. A walk to Brad Shankle forced Phillips home with the go-ahead run.
Spencer Barnett followed with a two-run double to left-center field that set what proved to be the final score.
Cameron Mann (8-1) pitched the final four innings for Southeastern Oklahoma State to earn the win. He held the Wonder Boys scoreless on two hits while lowering his NCAA Division II-leading earned run average to 0.88 this season.
Mann struck out four and walked none.
Arkansas Tech pitchers walked seven batters and hit three others on Saturday night.
Madison Beaird went 3-for-4 and Thomas Biocic was 3-for-5 to lead the Wonder Boys' offense. Tech's Chris Reese and Jonathan Finnegan both drove in one run.
Southeastern Oklahoma State jumped out to a 4-0 lead after one-half inning, but Beaird sparked a Wonder Boy rally in the last of the first with a lead-off triple. He extended his school record for career triples to 12.
Reese drove Beaird in with a ground out to second. Landon Sullins, who became the seventh Wonder Boy ever with 200 or more career base hits on Friday, followed by drawing a walk.
Biocic singled and Sullins eventually scored on a wild pitch to cut the Savage Storm lead to 4-2. Finnegan's RBI double brought Biocic in and made it 4-3.
The score remained the same --- thanks in part to a pair of outfield assists by Southeastern Oklahoma State that cut down Tech base runners at home plate --- until the bottom of the sixth inning.
Tech's Cesar Abreu led off that frame by drawing a walk. He went to second base on Beaird's sacrifice bunt, took third on a passed ball and came home on a throwing error by SOSU catcher Brad Shankle.
Abreu's run tied the score at 4-4, but the Savage Storm's three-run seventh inning turned the Wonder Boys' comeback bid away.
The winner of Sunday's SAU-SOSU game advances to Monday's championship round. The loser of that one will face the winner of the Tech-OBU game at 7:30 p.m. Sunday. The winner of Sunday night's game will move on to championship Monday.
Click here to view a GAC Tournament bracket.
Click here to learn more about Wonder Boys baseball.]]>