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Wonder Boys host East Central for final weekend series at home of regular season


With their final two weekend series of the regular season being played on the road, the Arkansas Tech baseball team is set to play is final home conference series of the regular season this weekend against East Central.
The series is slated to begin with a single nine-inning game on Friday night starting at 6 p.m. Saturday will close the series with a doubleheader (9-7) starting at 1 p.m. With it being the final home series of the regular season, the Senior Day ceremony for this year's seniors will take place prior to the start of the doubleheader at approximately 12:30 p.m.
The Wonder Boys and Tigers have met 55 times historically in a series that dates back to 2010. In terms of the all-time series record, Tech holds a 40-15 lead over ECU.
The two teams met three times last season with the weekend series being played at ECU. Tech would sweep the series, winning 11-1, 20-6 and 10-4.
The Wonder Boys enter this weekend series at home against East Central with an overall record of 25-13 and are 16-8 in GAC play. This past weekend, the Wonder Boys picked up a massive sweep on the road at then-nationally ranked Southern Arkansas. It was the Wonder Boys first conference series sweep of SAU since 1998 and vaulted them into a tie for first place in the GAC standings.
Entering play against East Central, the Wonder Boys are hitting .282 as a team (339-for-1,204) with 241 runs scored, 73 doubles, seven triples and 31 home runs.
Logan Schwenke currently leads the team in batting average at .345 (39-for-113). Schwenke has also been the top-power production bat in the lineup as he leads the team in slugging percentage at .673 thanks to 10 doubles, three triples and seven home runs. Schwenke is also the team-leader in runs scored with 32 and his 28 RBIs are second on the team. Nine other Wonder Boys have driven in at least 10 runs and four others have at least 20 driven in.
Schwenke's home run total is tied for the team-lead with Keaton Ranallo. Ranallo is the team-leader in RBIs with 37.
Markos Cabranes is next in homers with five while Christian Olea and Brendyn Bard have three. Grant Jones and Cole Dawson have two while Nick Jones and Sawyer Duddleston account for the other homers thus far with one apiece.
In terms of other extra-base hits, Schwenke, Olea and Ranallo are tied for the team-lead in doubles with 10 while the triples are led by Schwenke and his three.
On the mound, the Wonder Boys have a team ERA of 4.06 and have struck out 327 batters in 317.1 innings of work.

John Gray, Emilano Mata, and Jack Rector made starts this past weekend against Arkansas-Monticello and figure to be in the mix to start against East Central. Gray currently has the lowest ERA among starters at 3.54. He is also 5-2 with 53 strikeouts in 56.0 innings of work. Mata is 1-2 with a 4.89 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 42.1 innings. Rector is 4-3 with a 4.42 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 38.2 innings.
Aside from those that have made starts, 12 other pitchers have taken the mound for the Wonder Boys in relief roles. Will Horton has the most relief appearances thus far with 18. He is 3-1 with two saves and has a 1.75 ERA with 28 strikeouts in 25.2 innings. Grant Shahan has logged the most innings amongst prominent relievers with 41.1 to his credit. Shahan is second on the team in strikeouts with 47.
Leading the Wonder Boys once more is Dave Dawson. The all-time winningest coach in Tech Baseball history, Dawson enters his 15th year in the dugout for the Wonder Boys. In his previous 14 seasons, Dawson has guided amassed a 414-298 record. He has also had seven seasons with 30 or more wins which includes the 2014 season in which he led the team a program-record 44 wins and hosting rights for that year's Central Region Tournament.
Overall, Dawson is in his 19th year as a head baseball coach at the collegiate level as he spent four years as head coach at Kansas Wesleyan and totaled 118 wins. His combined win total at Tech and Kansas Wesleyan have him with a career record of 555-395.
East Central enters this weekend series at Tech with an 8-31 overall record and a 5-19 mark in GAC play. This past weekend, the Tigers were swept in their series on the road at Northwestern Oklahoma. Prior to that, the Tigers pulled off an upset series win at home against Oklahoma Baptist, winning the last two games of that series.
Offensively, the Tigers are hitting .262 as a team (312-for-1,192) with 163 runs scored, 47 doubles, 10 triples and 10 home runs.
ritton Sperry currently leads the team in batting average at .299 (32-for-107). Christian Whitaker has provided the most power production thus far with a .481 slugging percentage thanks to 10 doubles, two triples and four home runs. Five other players have hit a home run for the Tigers with Nick Blankenship being second with two. The team-leader in RBIs is Whitaker with 27 while Blankenship is second with 23.
On the mound, the Tigers have a 10.02 team ERA and have struck out 252 batters in 296.1 innings of work.
Last weekend, the Tigers used a weekend rotation of Bryan Terry, Price Daube and Clayton Solomon against Northwestern Oklahoma and figure to see to action in the same roles against Tech. Terry is 1-9 with an 11.86 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 49.1 innings of work. Daube is 0-1 with a 20.77 ERA with 19 strikeouts in 13.0 innings while Soloman is 0-6 with a 12.79 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 31.2 innings.
In addition to those starters, the Tigers have used 11 other pitchers in relief roles. Justin Chitty has made the most relief appearances with 14. He is 1-1 with a 6.12 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 25.0 innings.
The Tigers are led by Kevin Paxson, who is in his first season as head coach at Kevin Paxson. In his time at ECU, Paxson is 8-31.