Tigers Split Double-Header with Arkansas-Monticello

The East Central University baseball team split a double-header with Arkansas-Monticello at Tiger Field in Great American Conference action.

The Tigers (8-23, 2-15 GAC) were paced by sophomore Eric Swann and junior Kyle Watase. Both hit .429 for the day, with three hits and two RBIs. Swann added a run and Watase scored twice.

Junior Levi Keeton earned the win on the mound in game one after pitching a full inning and allowing zero hits and runs. Senior Gabriel Martinez picked up the save after pitching the final inning of the game, allowing one hit and striking out three batters.

ECU will remain at home to face Bacone College, Tuesday, April 2 at 3 p.m. The Tigers will then return to GAC action next weekend (April 5-6) when they travel to Southern Arkansas.

Game 1 – ECU 10, UAM 9
The Boll Weevils (21-14, 11-10 GAC) opened the scoring in the top of the first, taking a 0-1 lead. UAM increased the advantage to 0-4 after a run in the fourth and two runs in the fifth.

However, the Tigers made their first come-back in the bottom of the fifth, tying the game at four. Senior Benny Woodard started the rally with a single to left center. Senior Justin Gibson reached on an error that put runners on first and third and then stole second. Both runners advanced, with Woodard scoring when the Boll Weevils pitcher threw a wild pitch.

Senior Paul Guardado was walked and when he stole second it allowed Gibson to steal home for the second run of the innings. Junior Kyle Watase sent the next runner home with a double to center field. Watase was then sent home for the final run of the inning when junior Josh Lavender doubled.

UAM quickly rebuilt a 6-9 lead, scoring three runs in the sixth and two more in the seventh inning.

ECU then started the second, and final, come-back in the seventh inning, scoring four runs for the second time in the game. Senior Mac Grace got things rolling with a double to right field and was joined on base by senior Justin Sutherland, who was walked. Lavender moved both runners into scoring position with a ground out to short. The first run of the inning scored when senior Andrew Olson reached on an error.

Swann added two more runs with a double down the left field line and Woodard sent one more home with a double to left field for the 8-9 score.

The Tigers then took the lead with a two-run eighth inning. Guardado singled to left field and Grace reached on an error. Both runners advanced on a pass ball. Junior Ethan Gold earned the two RBIs with a single to right field for the 10-9 lead.

In the top of the ninth, Martinez came in relief, struck out the first two batters, allowed a single and then struck out the final batter to end the game.

Game 2 – UAM 5, ECU 2
The Tigers kept the momentum that they had built at the end of game one going into game two, scoring the first two runs of the game in the bottom of the first inning.

Junior Jake Caton started the game with a walk and was advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Guardado. Watase earned the first RBI with a double to left center and Lavender earned the second with a single up the middle for the 2-0 lead.

The advantage was short lived though, as the Boll Weevils scored three runs in the top of the second to take a 3-2 lead.
UAM added two more runs in the fifth to build the lead to 2-5.

The Tigers got one last chance to score in the seventh after holding the Boll Weevils scoreless in the sixth. UAM had the bases loaded with one out, but ECU turned a double-play to keep them from scoring and then Martinez struck out the final batter. The Tigers also ended the seventh inning with a double-play.

Swann started the inning with a double to left center, but the next three batters were all put out to end the game with the 2-5 score.

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