After spending the first two weekends of the season on the road, the Arkansas Tech baseball team is set to make its home debut for 2024 this Tuesday afternoon for an in-region game against Pittsburg State.
The game is a single nine-inning contest and will have a first-pitch time of 1 p.m. from Baswell Field.
Historically, the Wonder Boys and Gorillas have met twice before Tuesday's game in an all-time series that started in 2019. Pitt State has won both previous meetings with the most-recent coming in 2022.
The Wonder Boys enter Tuesday's game against Pittsburg State with an overall record of 2-5. They are coming off a four-game weekend series on the road at Central Missouri, who at the time was nationally-ranked No. 5 by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers of America (NCBWA). The Wonder Boys dropped all four of those game of the series with two coming in the final at-bat.
Entering play against the Gorillas, the Wonder Boys are hitting .214 as a team (45-for-210) with 31 runs scored, five doubles, a triple and seven home runs. Logan Schwenke currently leads the team in batting average at .350 (7-for-20). Schwenke is also tied for the team-lead in doubles with Shane Poe at two while Sawyer Duddleston has the team's lone triple thus far.
Schwenke leads the team in RBIs with seven and is second in home runs with two. Keaton Ranallo is currently the team-leader in home runs with four. He is also pacing the club in runs scored with six. Brendyn Bard and Cole Dawson have account for the other homers thus far with one apiece.
On the mound, the Wonder Boys have a team ERA of 7.23 and have struck out 50 batters in 56.0 innings of work.
John Gray, Emilano Mata, Jack Rector and Mason Willis have made starts on the mound, but aren't likely to appear in the game against Pitt State with the first conference series looming later in the week.
Aside from those four who have made starts, 13 other pitchers have taken the mound for the Wonder Boys in relief roles. Will Horton has the most relief appearances thus far with three. Grant Shahan has logged the most innings in relief with 6.2 to his credit. Shahan also currently leads the team in strikeouts with 10.
SCOUTING PITTSBURG STATE
Pittsburg State enters Tuesday's game against Tech with a 6-2 overall record. Over the weekend, Pitt State played a four-game series at home against Regis. After losing the first game by a run, 5-4, the Gorillas went on to win the next three games. The final two of which, were one-run games as well.
Offensively, the Gorillas are hitting .298 as a team (79-for-265) with 54 runs scored, 16 doubles, two triples and eight home runs. Blake Mozley leads the team in batting average early on at .471 (8-for-17). Dylan Kurahashi-Choy Foo has provided the most power production thus far with a .741 slugging percentage thanks to four doubles and two homers. He also is tied for the team-lead in RBIs with seven.
On the mound, the Gorillas have a 3.84 team ERA and have struck out 60 batters in 68.0 innings of work.
The Gorillas used a weekend rotation of Brady Pacha, Tanner Leslie, Alex Kafka and Brett Wiemers against Regis. Outside of those four, the Gorillas have had one other pitcher start a game in Cason Long. In that start, Long pitched 5.0 innings and allowed one run on four hits against East Central. He did not walk a batter and struck out seven en route to the win.
In addition to the five that have started games, the Gorillas have used 13 other pitchers in relief roles. Cole Askew has made the most relief appearances so far with four. Cadyn Castellanos has logged the most innings in relief with 8.0 and Andrew Wisner has recorded the team's lone save.
The Gorillas are led by Bob Fornelli, who is in his sixth season at Pittsburg State and his 28th overall. In his time at Pitt State, Fornelli is 145-88 and has an overall collegiate head coaching record of 1,050-467.