Late home runs keep Blossoms alive in GAC

BENTONVILLE — Three home runs in the final three innings of an elimination game helped Arkansas-Monticello to an 8-6 victory over Arkansas Tech on Thursday evening in the first day of the Great American Conference softball tournament.

Earlier in the day, Southern Arkansas sent UAM to the losers’ bracket with a 9-3 victory.

Against Arkansas Tech (31-27), UAM (27-29) got solo home runs from Sydney Tipton and Brittany Eitel in the top of the fifth inning to force a 4-4 tie. But two runs on a squeeze bunt put Arkansas Tech back in the lead.

The Cotton Blossoms responded with a run on a Lacy Blanchard sacrifice grounder in the sixth. In the seventh, Channing Tharpe started a three-run rally with a solo home run, and UAM scored on an error and RBI single.

Beth Johnson led the Blossoms with three hits. Courtney Wilson (12-14) held the Golden Suns to two runs on six hits in the final 4 1/3 innings to pick up the win.

Against Southern Arkansas, UAM fell to a 9-0 hole after two innings and scored all three of its runs in the third on two SAU errors and a McKenzie Rice groundout.

Hanna Gill (10-3) pitched a complete-game victory for the Muleriders (33-23). Wilson allowed nine runs on 12 hits in a complete-game loss.

UAM will play either Southeastern Oklahoma State or Harding at 11 a.m. today. The winner will play again at 5 p.m. for a spot in the 7 p.m. losers’ bracket final.