The dramatic walk-off homerun that won the inaugural 2012 Great American Conference Baseball Tournament a year ago was not needed this year for the top-seeded Southern Arkansas baseball team, but the result was much of the same as the Muleriders cruised to an 11-2 win over Arkansas-Monticello to capture their second straight GAC Tournament Championship.
The tournament crown is the Muleriders' (40-15) fourth in the last five years as they won the Gulf South Conference Tournament title in 2009 and 2011. The win also gives the Muleriders their 40th win this season, making it their eighth 40-win season in the last 15 years, and their first since 2010 when they ended the year 47-10.
With the repeat of their postseason conference championship, the Muleriders are the fourth team in the league to accomplish the feat.
In Tuesdays' tournament championship, the Muleriders' offense scored the games' first runs as they scored three runs in the top of the second inning. Two innings later, the Mulerider offense would break the game wide open as they scored five runs, all with two outs, to take a commanding 8-0 lead. Three more runs of insurance would be tacked on over the next two innings as the Muleriders built a comfortable 11-0 lead through six innings.
Offensively, Tyler Cameron, Brady Capshaw, Jason Dahl, David Harris, and William Townsend all notched multiple hits in the championship game.
All the Muleriders' runs over the first six innings were in support of starter James Baune. Baune (12-1), who was later named the Tournament MVP, threw 6.0 innings of scoreless baseball to earn his second victory of the tournament. His solid start just added to the outstanding tournament that the SAU pitching staff put together. In the five games played at the GAC Tournament, the SAU hurlers sported a 2.20 ERA.
Five other Muleriders joined Baune on the All-Tournament Team as fellow starters John Mark Abbey and Timothy Buchanan, along with Capshaw, Dahl, and Harris garnered the tournament honors.
SAU, which entered the tournament ranked fourth in the NCAA Division II Central Region, will learn where they stand in the final regional rankings and if they will advance to their sixth consecutive regional on Sunday at 9 p.m. CST during the NCAA.com Selection Show.