Nationally third-ranked North Alabama built an early lead and then held on for an 8-7 non-conference baseball win over the Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys at Mike Lane Field in Florence, Ala., on Tuesday afternoon.
The Lions (22-7) jumped out to a 5-0 lead after four innings. Josh Cyr figured prominently in North Alabama's early success. He had a two-run double in the bottom of the fourth inning and later scored on an error.
Arkansas Tech (13-15) got back in the game on a solo home run by Cesar Abreu in the fifth inning, a two-run homer by Thomas Biocic in the sixth inning and an RBI single by Drew Stanton later that frame.
The Lions' lead was trimmed to 5-4 going to the bottom of the sixth.
UNA's Darrmal Moore had an RBI single in the last of the sixth and Tech's Zach Thomas notched an RBI single in the top of the seventh to keep it a one-run Lions' advantage.
North Alabama took advantage of a Wonder Boys' error to tack on two valuable insurance runs in the bottom of the seventh.
The score remained 8-5 in favor of the Lions until the top of the ninth, when Chris Reese kept Arkansas Tech's hopes alive with a two-out, two-run single. Biocic and Jonathan Finnegan scored on the play to make it 8-7.
UNA relief pitcher Ben Seabrook was able to stop the rally there by inducing a ground out to second base by Abreu. Seabrook recorded the final two outs for his seventh save of the season.
His work made a winner of Andrew Hillis (3-1), who started and gave the Lions five innings. Hillis allowed four runs, three of which were earned, on seven hits. He struck out three.
Cyr and Michael Schmidt had three hits apiece for North Alabama, which won for the sixth time in its last seven games.
Biocic led the Wonder Boys' attack with three base hits. Finnegan, Stanton, Nate Wilder and Landon Sullins had two hits each.
Arkansas Tech starting pitcher Stephen Thompson (1-1) received his first loss of the season. Thompson allowed five runs, four earned, on four hits in three innings. Cody Hatman, Todd Immel and Blake Baldaraz pitched in relief for the Wonder Boys.
Arkansas Tech will host Southeastern Oklahoma State for a three-game Great American Conference series at Tech Field in Russellville on March 24-25.
The Wonder Boys and the Savage Storm will play a single game beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday. The two sides will play a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. Sunday. All three games will be broadcast over KCAB 980 AM and athletics.atu.edu.
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