UAM repeats as GAC baseball tournament champions

Arkansas-Monticello wins GAC baseball tournament (courtesy Great American Conference)

UAM capped a second-straight, undefeated run through the Great American Conference Baseball Championships as the Weevils defeated Henderson State, 6-1, on Sunday.

The Weevils (32-19) jumped out in front with three runs in the second inning. Austin Brakebill singled home Guy Halbert and scored on a double by Lathan McFadden. Two batters later, Tournament MVP Brian Ray singled to right field to drive home McFadden. Henderson State (32-21) answered with its lone run of the game in third inning. With the bases loaded, Hayden Lessenberry hit a blast to the warning track in right field, but McFadden hauled it in and limited the damage to just a sacrifice fly. UAM came back with a single run in the fourth, an unearned run, and two in the sixth when All-Tournament catcher Brady Weiss homered.

The early offense provided all the support UAM starter Kris Brown needed. He matched his longest outing of the season, 7.0 innings, to pick up his sixth win of the season. Henderson State’s Austin Cross started and took the loss after allowing three runs in 2.2 innings. GAC Pitcher of the Year Bryant Haralson, on two days rest after picking a win on Thursday, pitched 5.1 innings in relief. He finished the season with 119 strikeouts, the second-best single-season total in GAC history.

May garnered Tournament MVP honors by going 12-for-23 in GAC Championship play, good enough for a .522 average. He hit a game-winning home run against Southeastern Oklahoma State in game one of the best two-of-three series and added a five-hit game, the third in GAC Championship history, on Saturday against the Reddies.

Weiss, Halbert, Braden Chambers and Dawson Moser joined May on the All-Tournament Team. Weiss hit .375 with two home runs and tallied seven RBi; Halbert also hit two home runs and slugged 1.000; Chambers went 2-0 with 14 strikeouts in two starts and Moser threw 6.2 scoreless innings out of the bullpen and earned two wins.

Haralson, Lessenberry, Parker Jones and Blake Patterson earned All-Tournament honors for Henderson State. Lessenberry hit .320 with five doubles; Jones matched May with 12 hits while hitting .480 and Patterson recorded three saves and did not allow a run in 6.0 innings.

GAC Player of the Year Trevor Rucker and first baseman Mark Fontenot represented Southern Arkansas on the All-Tournament Team. The duo combined to hit seven home runs in Championship play. Arkansas Tech’s Kyle Gibbs, who hit .500 in 18 at bats, filled out the 12-member squad.

The Weevils earn their third trip to the NCAA Regionals in the last four seasons. They will learn their destination and opponent during Sunday’s selection show, set to stream on at 9 p.m. Southern Arkansas stands in position to earn an at-large bid.

--Courtesy Great American Conference

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