MONTICELLO – The Arkansas-Monticello baseball team picked up its third win of the season over a nationally-ranked opponent as a part of a doubleheader split with Minnesota State-Mankato on Sunday, losing the first game 4-3 and winning the second game 8-5.
Mankato (1-1), last year’s NCAA Division II national runner-up, is currently ranked No. 1 in two of the four national polls and No. 2 in the other two.
In UAM’s Game 2 win, the Mavericks struck first on an RBI single in the top of the first from Nolan Johnson, but UAM took the lead in the bottom of the frame on one swing, a bases-loaded double to center from sophomore catcher Travis Steinke to clear the bases and put his team up by two.
The Mavericks took advantage of a UAM fielding error to score a pair of unearned runs top of the fourth to force a 3-all tie. UAM rallied in to load the bases with no outs in the bottom of that inning and used three consecutive run-producing at bats to regain the lead for the final time. Seniors D’Marco Poindexter and Ben Agredano each had RBI singles to right field, followed by a sac fly from junior Austin Braddock.
The Boll Weevils (5-1) added insurance runs in the fifth and sixth innings. In the fifth, Poindexter picked up his second RBI of the game to score senior Tyler Caruthers, who singled earlier in the inning. In the sixth, with runners on first and third and two outs, senior Justin Hollis scored from third before Steinke could get caught in a rundown between first and second for the final out.
Mankato threatened in the top of the seventh with a pair of runs, but junior reliever Kregg Snook came in to close the door and get the final two outs in the inning for his first save of the season.
Junior Logan Johnson (1-0) earned the win after giving up five runs (three earned) off seven hits with a pair of strikeouts and one walk in the first 6 1/3 innings of the scheduled seven-inning game. Mankato reliever T.J. Larson took the loss, giving up all three of UAM’s go-ahead runs in the fourth inning.
In the first half of the doubleheader, the Weevils struggled with Mankato starter Jason Hoppe (1-0), who kept UAM off the scoreboard in the first seven innings and ended up with three runs allowed off five hits with 11 strikeouts and two walks in 7 1/3 innings of work. UAM finally chased Hoppe in the eighth on walk by Agredano to load the bases following an RBI single from Poindexter.
UAM took advantage of a pair of wild pitches from Mankato reliever Chris Williams to score its final two runs. UAM left runners on first and second in the ninth to seal the win for Mankato and spoil UAM’s home opener. Despite giving up a pair of runs, Williams was credited with the save, his first of the season.
The only offense for the Mavericks came in the middle innings with two runs in each of the fourth and fifth frames.
Senior Kade Garlington (1-1) took the loss after giving up four runs off six hits with four strikeout and two walks in the first 4 1/3 innings. Relievers Gavin Johnson and Snook kept the Mavericks off the board and only allowed one hit in the in the final 4 2/3 innings.
The Weevils’ home game against Lyon College for Tuesday has been postponed to March 25. It will be made up as part of a doubleheader in Batesville.