ENID, Oklahoma – Arkansas Tech third baseman Cody Wescott had a banner day at the plate, leading the fifth-seeded Wonder Boys to a 9-3 victory against Southern Arkansas in the second game of the 2018 Great American Conference Baseball Championships. Freshman and All-GAC Honorable Mention Hayes Cox provided eight strong innings on the hill to earn his ninth win of the year.
Arkansas Tech (28-21) took advantage of two early errors by the Muleriders (32-17) and scored four runs in the top of the first inning. Following a double off the bat of Harry Gard, the Wonder Boys capitalized on miscue by catcher Zach Muldoon and second baseman Austin Baker on consecutive plays. Wescott then hit a double to left that scored a pair of runs. A sacrifice fly from Korey Thompson scored Mark Vaughn to put Southern Arkansas in a 4-0 hole.
The Wonder Boys got an impressive performance on the mound from Cox who threw eight-plus innings, allowing five hits and two earned runs while striking out seven. He carried a shutout into the ninth inning before SAU touched him up for a pair of runs.
Michael Post drove in a fifth ATU run in the top of the fourth inning when he found a gap in left-center for an RBI triple. Tech found consistent success against GAC Pitcher of the Year Hunter Vasquez, as the Wonder Boys tagged the right-hander for nine hits and four earned runs over his 5.2 innings of work.
Wescott went 3-for-5 at the plate as he took Vasquez deep in the fifth inning for a two-run home run to extend the Wonder Boys lead to 7-0.
The third baseman added to his productive day when he ripped his second double of the day off the brick wall in left in a seventh inning that produced Tech’s final two runs of the contest.
After SAU’s Cortland McPherson hit a two-run home in the top of the ninth, Tech head coach Dave Dawson made the move to the bullpen for Isaac Hale. He worked through a two-out rally and secured a trip to the winner’s bracket.
With the win, Arkansas Tech will face the winner of Oklahoma Baptist-Henderson State on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. while Southern Arkansas will play Arkansas-Monticello in the tournament’s first elimination game Sunday at 12:30 p.m.