RUSSELLVILLE – The Arkansas Tech baseball team is looking to keep their solid start to Great American Conference play going this weekend as they hit the road to Monticello to take on the Arkansas-Monticello Boll Weevils in a three-game series.
The Wonder Boys are coming into the weekend series 5-1 in GAC play and 7-5 overall. This past weekend, the Wonder Boys made their long-awaited home debut and took two of three from the No. 10-ranked Southern Arkansas Muleriders. The first game of that series saw the Wonder Boys fall behind 4-0 in the blink of an eye without recording an out in the top of the first. Despite that early hole, the Wonder Boys rallied back and beat SAU 10-6. In the second game of the series, the Wonder Boys walked-off the Muleriders 6-4 on a two-run home run by Evan Hafley. SAU would stave off the sweep with a win in the finale.
Prior to the big series victory over SAU, the Wonder Boys opened up GAC play with an emphatic three-game sweep of East Central.
As a team, the Wonder Boys enter the weekend at UAM batting .287 as a team and have four lineup regulars hitting .300 or better. After a solid weekend at the plate against SAU, Hafley is now the Wonder Boys leading hitter in terms of average at .405 (17-for-42). He is second on the team in home runs with two and RBIs with 10. Both Jonathon Arrieta and Josh Detweiler lead the team in homers with three each. Arrieta currently leads the team with 11 RBIs.
On the mound, the Wonder Boys have been a handful to deal with. Sporting a team ERA of 4.41, the Wonder Boys as a staff have recorded 120 strikeouts in 96.0 innings of work. The three weekend arms of the Wonder Boys comprised of Hayes Cox, Patrick Miner and Riyan Rodriguez have accounted for 62 strikeouts in 60.1 innings of work.
Individually, through four weeks of play, the Wonder Boys have had three pitchers earn GAC Pitcher of the Week honors. Cox was the first to win it back on February 16. Miner then earned the honor on March 2 and Mason Griffin (Austin, Ark.) was the most-recent to Wonder Boy to earn the award this past week.
Tech's opponent this weekend is a stout Boll Weevil team that has been a GAC mainstay over the last few years. Coming into the weekend though, the Boll Weevils have been a little slow out of the gate and are 3-4 overall and 3-3 in GAC play. They are coming off of a series win over Henderson State last weekend, but have lost two-straight games after losing the finale with the Reddies and a mid-week game with national powerhouse, Delta State.
The Boll Weevils as a team are hitting .229 and have three players over the .300 mark in their batting average. The top hitter in terms of average is Aaron Gaela at .450 (9-for-20). Gaela also leads the team in RBIs with seven. Cole Muckleroy and Grant Shepherd are tied for the team-lead with two home runs each.
On the mound, the Boll Weevils have a 5.68 ERA and have registered 64 strikeouts as a staff in 57.0 innings. River Hunt is the top starter thus far with a 1-0 record and a 1.80 ERA in two starts. In 10.0 innings, Hunt has a team-best 13 strikeouts.
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