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Wonder Boys walk-off Bisons in mid-week slugfest


RUSSELLVILLE — The Arkansas Tech baseball team made the most out of having the last at-bats of the game as the home team on Tuesday night, tying the game in the bottom of the ninth and then walking off with a win in the 10th as they beat Harding in a non-conference slugfest out at Baswell Field.
Tuesday night's affair played out like one would expect it to in a mid-week clash of teams with offensive prowess as the Wonder Boys and Bisons combined for 21 runs on 24 hits. Of those 24 combined hits, 13 went for extra bases with seven of those going for home runs.
All of that offensive fire power got started right out of the gate with some help from some strong winds out to left field as the Bisons hit back-to-back solo home runs to start the top of the first inning. An inning later, they hit their third solo home run of the game, leading off the top of the second. Harding scored another run later in the inning to take a 4-0 lead.
In the bottom of the second, the Wonder Boys flipped the four-run deficit into a four-run lead of their own with an eight-run outburst. Logan Schwenke led that big inning off with a walk and then quickly stole second. A walk to Shane Poe followed and then Nick Jones drove in Tech's first run of the game on a single up the middle. Brendyn Bard then hit a sharp double down the left field line to score Poe and move Jones to third.
The bases then became loaded as Sawyer Duddleston was hit-by-a-pitch on a full count. That set the stage for the biggest swing of the night to that point for the Wonder Boys as Markos Cabranes unloaded the bases and gave Tech a 6-4 lead with a line drive grand slam out to left-centerfield.
Later in the inning, the Wonder Boys had loaded the bases once more, this time with two outs. Jones then delivered the clutch hit with a two-RBI single up the middle, putting Tech up 8-4.
That score held until the Bisons scored three runs in the fifth to pull within a run, 8-7. The Wonder Boys were able to answer that back with a run of their own in the bottom of the frame as Bard crushed a solo home run down the left field line.

In the top of the sixth, Harding regained the lead, 10-9, as they cleared the bases with two outs. The Wonder Boys would be retired in the bottom of the inning and neither team scored in the seventh or eighth innings, keeping it a one-run game heading into the ninth.
In the ninth, the Wonder Boys sent reliever Will Horton back to the mound after he came on initially in the seventh and got the final out of that inning. Horton quickly got the first two batters out, but was tagged for a double by Harding's Nathan Bowie, his third double of the game. With an insurance run in scoring position, the Wonder Boys turned to the bullpen again and brought on Mason Griffin. The hard-throwing right hander made quick work of the one batter he had to face in the ninth as he struck him out swinging on three pitches.
Needing a run to extend the game and two to end it, the Wonder Boys got their first base runner on with one out as Poe drew a full-count walk. Jones then had a lengthy at-bat and finished it off with a game-tying RBI double down the left field line, chasing home Poe. Three batters later, the bases were loaded with two outs, but Harding was able to get out of the inning on a ground ball to second base.
Now with the game tied and only having thrown three pitches, Griffin came back out for the 10th. Griffin would pick right up where he left off and struck out the side, setting up the walk-off heroics of Christian Olea in the bottom of the inning.
Olea, who had been held hitless in his five at-bat prior sent the Wonder Boys and their fans home happy on the fourth pitch he saw as he hit the ball on top of the roof of the indoor hitting facility in left field.
The Wonder Boys will look to keep the momentum going into the weekend as they will be on the road at Henderson State for a three-game series. The series is slated to start at 6 p.m. on Friday night.