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Wonder Boys secure series sweep against Southern Nazarene


RUSSELLVILLE — The Arkansas Tech baseball team put the finishing touches on their first conference sweep of the season as they won both games of Saturday's doubleheader against Southern Nazarene, 4-1 and 13-4.

In the opener, the Crimson Storm struck first with a solo home run in the top the first inning. After that homer, the Crimson Storm were threatening for more as a hit-by-pitch and single and an error followed to put two runners in scoring position with just one out.
Tech's starting pitcher, Jack Rector, would limit the damage in the first inning to just the one run as he struck out the next two batters to end the inning. Rector fell into a bit of a jam again in the second inning, but ultimately stranded two more runners and kept SNU off the scoreboard.
After those two relatively shaky innings, Rector was dominant as he did not allow a hit over his final three innings on the mound while adding three strikeouts to his total.
While Rector was shutting down the Southern Nazarene lineup, the Wonder Boys' offense was struggling to get going and had only scored one run on two hits through the first four innings of play.
In the bottom of the fifth, however, things started to break for Tech as they scored a pair of runs to take their first lead of the game, 3-1. Markos Cabranes got the inning started. with a double to right field. Two batters later, and with two outs, Christian Olea connected for his first home run of the season as he hit it on top of the indoor hitting facility in left field.
Now staked to a lead, the Wonder Boys turned to the bullpen and called upon Grant Shahan, who picked up the torch of dominance that Rector left. Shahan would go on to pitch the final four innings of the game en route to securing his first save of the season. In his time on the mound, Shahan allowed just one hit, walked two and struck out five.
While Shahan was pitching, the Wonder Boys gave him a third run of insurance to work with heading into the ninth as Brendyn Bard doubled home Logan Schwenke in the bottom of the eighth.

The second game of the doubleheader played out a bit more like what Tech has hoped heading into the day as they scored 13 runs on 12 hits. In the seven-inning game, the Wonder Boys scored at least one run in all but one inning as they plated three in the first, four in the second, one in the third, three in the fourth and two in the fifth.
Thankfully, that offense came early and often for the Wonder Boys because they found themselves trailing 3-0 early in the game as the Crimson Storm scored three runs in the top of the first and chased starter Emiliano Mata before the inning was over.

Coming on in relief for Mata in that first inning was Simon Murray and after getting out of the jam with the final two outs of the inning, Murray pitched the next two and struck out three and allowing just one more hit.
Murray's settling of the game was aided by the Wonder Boys offense and put him in line for the eventual win, his first at Tech. Four other relievers saw action in the game after Murray. Those four would combine for one run allowed on three hits with seven strikeouts over the final four innings.

Wonder Boys shutout Crimson Storm on Friday

The Arkansas Tech baseball team picked up their first win in Great American Conference play on Friday night as they shutout visiting Southern Nazarene, 9-0.
The Wonder Boys would get started offensively in the first inning by scoring a run on a clutch two-out RBI single by Logan Schwenke. Two batters prior to that, Christian Olea had extended the inning after two quick outs with a single up the middle.
After being retired in order in the second, the Wonder Boys struck for four runs in the bottom of the third to jolt out to a 5-0 lead. Grant Jones led that inning off with a double to center. Markos Cabranes then drew a walk. During the ensuing at-bat, Jones scored from second and Cabranes took second on a failed pickoff attempt by the Crimson Storm.
Cabranes then got to third with no outs on a passed ball, but was in danger of being stranded there after consecutive outs. The inning continued however on a hit-by-pitch to Schwenke. Another passed ball was uncorked by SNU, scoring Cabranes and moving Schwenke to second. Nick Jones then drew a walk and he and Schwenke proceeded to steal second and third ahead of the big hit in the frame, a two-RBI double to right-centerfield by Shane Poe.
An inning later, the Wonder Boys added three more runs to take an 8-0 lead. The big hits in that frame were a RBI triple by G. Jones, and a two-RBI single by Ranallo. The Wonder Boys tacked on their ninth run of the game on a sacrifice fly by Aaron Hogue in the bottom of the eighth.
The Wonder Boys used a total of four pitchers to get through the series opener. John Gray made the start and picked up the win after going 5.0 innings. He would scatter three hits and worked around four walks while striking out seven. Aiden Kennon, JT Cafferty and Kade Cartwright all saw action out of the bullpen.

The Wonder Boys will conclude their five-game home stand this coming Tuesday against Harding. The non-conference game is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. from Baswell Field.