Weevils avoid upset in GAC tourney opener

ENID, Okla. — The Arkansas-Monticello baseball team battled back to win its opening game of the Great American Conference opener on Saturday afternoon.

UAM fell behind early, but a two-run homer by Corey Wood and a sacrifice fly off the bat off Chad Miller proved to be the difference in a 3-2 victory over Southwestern Oklahoma State at David Allen Memorial Ballpark.

The win keeps second-seeded UAM from having to face No. 1 seed Arkansas Tech, which suffered a shocking 6-3 loss to Ouachita Baptist, in the loser’s bracket. Instead, the Boll Weevils will Harding at 7:30 p.m. Sunday.

UAM (34-13) trailed 1-0 before even getting to bat.

A single by Chris Faulkner drove in J.R. Head to stake SWOSU (25-22) to the early lead. The Bulldogs added a run in the top of the fifth when Faulkner doubled in Dalton Daniels.

UAM broke through in a big way in the bottom of the frame.

Miller singled up the middle to start the inning and Wood followed with his third homer of the season to knot the score at 2-2.

The Weevils threatened to take the lead later in the inning.

D’Marco Poindexter singled after Wood went yard. After a fly out by Tyler Caruthers, Evan Comeau singled and Alex Lang reached on a hit-by-pitch to load the bases.

SWOSU starter Jonathan Johnson buckled down and got Ben Agredano to ground into an inning-ending double play.

Johnson (6-6) suffered the complete-game loss. He was battered by 11 hits in the game but worked out of trouble several times, including the bases-loaded jam in the fifth.

He couldn’t escape the eighth unscathed, though.

Back-to-back singles by Agredano and Ray Johnson put the Weevils in business, and Bronson Gillam laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners.

Miller, a senior, followed with a sacrifice fly to center field that scored Agredano from third base.

The Weevils, who matched the school’s 2005 team for most wins in a season, saw starting pitcher Kade Garlington fight his way through 7 1/3 innings.

Garlington entered the game with a 9-2 record but gave up nine hits and issued four walks in his outing. The senior gave way to Kregg Snook with the bases loaded in the eighth.

Snook (4-1) escaped the jam after forcing a fly out and a fielder’s choice groundball. It’s the third straight UAM victory that Snook has been the winning pitcher out of the bullpen.

The junior earned the win in both of UAM’s triumphs over Southern Arkansas in the last series of the regular season.

Junior Jeff Harvill came on in the ninth looking to pick up his 10th save of the season. The left-hander walked a pair in the inning, but he got cleanup hitter Kale Thaxton to ground into a game-ending, 4-6-3 double play.