Epic rally helps Reddies topple No. 9 SAU, win GAC series


Henderson State used an epic rally in the first game on Saturday to stun No. 9 Southern Arkansas 6-5 and take the GAC series from the Muleriders for the first time since 2018. 

SAU salvaged a win the final game of the weekend, outlasting the Reddies 6-5.

HSU returns to action on Tuesday when it hosts Mississippi College at 3 p.m. in a midweek contest at Clyde Berry Field.

GAME 1: Henderson State 6, Southern Arkansas 5
Trailing 5-2 with two outs and on one aboard in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Reddies strung together six-consecutive hits, including a walk-off liner from Charles Hoof, to complete one of the most improbable comebacks in school history and stun No. 9 Southern Arkansas 6-5 in the first game of the Saturday doubleheader. 

The game appeared lost for HSU after back-to-back strikeouts to open the bottom of the ninth left the Reddies down by three runs with only one out to work with. With the top of the lineup up to bat, Luke Farrar and Greyson Stevens kept a glimmer of hope alive with a pair of singles. On the next at-bat, Luke Rice delivered a two-run single up the middle to score both Farrar and Stevens and trim the deficit down to just 5-4.

Still down to its final out, Dillon Thomas kept the line moving for HSU with an infield single to the shortstop. With the tying run in scoring position it was Kaden Argenbright who came through to even the score, as the junior lined a pitch through the right side of the infield and pinch runner Louis Holt used his speed to slide in under the tag at home plate and make it a 5-5 game.

The fifth-straight two-out base hit tied the contest for Henderson, but the sixth completed what seemed impossible just moments earlier. Charles Hoof, on a 3-2 count and with two runners on base, blasted a line drive into left field. The SAU outfielder gave chase, but the ball went over his outstretched glove and to the wall, allowing pinch runner Drake Browning to score with ease and setting off a wild celebration as the Reddies mobbed Hoof rounding the bases. 

Hoof, Argenbright and Farrar all finished with three hits for HSU, who out-hit the No. 9 Muleriders 14-10 in the win. Reese Weaks earned a no-decision as the starter for Henderson and allowed just one run in four innings of work. Owen Vanthillo struck out five SAU batters out of the bullpen and struck out the side with the bases loaded in the fifth to help the Reddies escape a huge jam. 

The series victory was the first for Henderson State since 2018. Southern Arkansas dropped just one GAC series last season and had won each of their first three this spring.

GAME 2: Southern Arkansas 6, Henderson State 5
The Reddies had opportunities in the series finale on Saturday, but stranded 13 baserunners, including the game-tying runner on third base to end it, and fell 6-5 to the nation’s No. 9 team.

A grand slam from SAU in the fifth inning gave the Muleriders a 6-0 advantage, but Henderson answered back with five runs of its own in the bottom half thanks to five walks and three base hits. HSU had a chance to do further damage in the inning, but a called third strike ended the frame with the bases loaded.

Henderson once again threatened in the sixth after loading the bases on two singles and an SAU error, but a terrific play by Muleriders second baseman Chris Sutton to throw out Colton Patterson helped Southern Arkansas escape the threat and stranded three Reddies for the second-straight inning.

A bases loaded double play turned by HSU helped the Reddies escape damage in their own right in the top of the seventh inning, but runners left on base came back to haunt Henderson one final time. With runners on the corners and two outs, a swinging strikeout closed the door on another dramatic rally as SAU held on to salvage a 6-5 win.

Stevens and Thomas each had two hits for the Reddies, while Logan Cowart reached base four times with a hit and three walks.

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