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The Lady Bisons went 3-1 this weekend against Ouachita Baptist University. They travel to Delta State this week for this season's final regular games.

The Lady Bisons went 3-1 this weekend against Ouachita Baptist University. They travel to Delta State this week for this season’s final regular games.

The baseball, softball and track teams are wrapping up their regular seasons this week. All three sports will have conference tournaments next week.

After winning the Great American Conference regular season, the women’s tennis team won its first GAC Tournament title on Saturday. After a first round bye, the Lady Bisons defeated East Central Oklahoma in the semifinals 5-2 to advance to the championship. After playing a 6-3 match two weeks earlier in Russellville, Ark., that lasted more than four hours, the Lady Bisons (17-4) and Arkansas Tech battled for nearly that length in time to determine who would claim the conference’s first-ever automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Just like their regular-season contest, the Golden Suns gained a 2-1 lead from the doubles contests. The Lady Bisons scored the first three singles victory to take a 4-2 advantage, but they did not come easily as the final five singles matches went the full three sets. The Lady Bisons guaranteed themselves a spot in the field of seven at the NCAA Central Region Tournament. They will find out where and whom they play on the NCAA Selection Show, set to stream on NCAA.com at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 29. The Harding men’s tennis team fell in the first round to East Central Oklahoma 5-2. Mathaus Spiering got his 19th victory of the season, the most by a Harding tennis player since Thomas Alm won 19 in 1998-99. Spiering also won 14 dual matches at No. 1 singles, the most by a Bison at No. 1 singles since Ernesto Tovar won 15 in 1991.

Elsewhere …
Baseball: The Bisons dropped the first game of the series against Ouachita Baptist in a pitchers dual 2-0 but bounced back to sweep the Tigers on Saturday, winning 10-7 and 10-0. In the sweep, Harding’s Trent Wooldridge went 8-8 with three RBI. Wooldridge set a new GAC record with six hits in the first game on Saturday. Logan Holthaus got the win in game one as Andrew Fiddler had the save. Collin Campbell pitched his second-straight shutout win in game two. He gave up five hits and struck out seven.

Softball: Harding went 3-1 this week as they hosted Ouachita Baptist this past weekend. The Lady Bisons dropped the first game of the series 1-0 in nine innings but won the last three. In the pitchers dual in game one, Amber Rollins struck out 15 batters, which broke her previous GAC record set earlier this season. Kinsey Beck led Harding at plate in the series, batting .471. Beck had eight hits, four of them doubles, and had four RBI. She also had four runs.

Men’s track and field: Two NCAA provisional efforts, two event victories, and one school record were set by the men’s team Saturday at the UCA Open, hosted by the University of Central Arkansas at Bill Stephens Track. The 4×400 relay team of Kevin Naceanceno, Trevor Holloway, Dillon Bagwell and Landon Belcher placed fifth in an NCAA provisional time of 3 minutes, 11.85 seconds. It was the top time of the season for the team and ranks as the 13th-fastest 4×400-meter relay time this season in NCAA II. The team’s two event victories both came in the field events. Josh Syrotchen won the discus with a throw of 169 feet, 2 inches, breaking the 17-year-old school record of 164-04 set by Bryan Rampey in 1997. His mark also ranks 13th in NCAA II this season. Jacob McDonald recorded his third career event victory by winning the hammer throw with a mark of 155-03.

Women’s track and field: Lady Bison Rachael Domeyer broke her own school record in the javelin and placed second in the event with a throw of 134 feet, 10 inches on Saturday at the UCA Open. Domeyer’s throw ranks 30th in NCAA II this season. Amber Priest recorded her first career outdoor event victory Saturday by winning the steeplechase in 11 minutes, 58.32 seconds, and Sarah Shepherd placed second in 12:20.27. Amber Webb won the 5,000 meters on Friday in 17:44.71.

Men’s golf: Lucas Collins tied the best round of his career with a 3-under 69 in the final round of the GAC Tournament. Collins tied for sixth overall, earned All-Tournament honors and led the Bisons to a sixth-place finish in the 11-team event. Harding shot 300 in Sunday’s first round. The second round was rained out Monday, so the teams played 36 holes on Tuesday. The team struggled to a 306 in round two but shot 290 in the final round, the best single-round score by a Harding team in a conference tournament in the last nine years. The team finished at 896, the third-best 54-hole score ever by a Harding golf team and the best ever in a conference tournament.

Women’s golf: Brittany Marquez fired the best 54-hole score in the nine-year history of the Lady Bison golf program and finished second at the GAC Championship on Tuesday at Hot Springs Country Club. Marquez finished at 11-over 227, breaking the previous record of 228 set by Emily Plyler. Marquez finished just one stroke back of tournament champion Rebecka Surtevall. It marked the third consecutive season that a Harding women’s golfer placed second at the GAC Championship.

This week’s schedule: (Home games in bold)
Tuesday, April 22

  • Softball doubleheader at Delta State, 2 p.m.
  • Baseball at Southern Arkansas, 3 p.m.

Friday, April 25

  • Baseball vs. Arkansas Tech, 3 p.m.
  • Men’s and women’s track at Arkansas State, TBA

Saturday, April 26

  • Baseball doubleheader vs. Arkansas Tech, 12 p.m.
  • Men’s and women’s track at Arkansas State, TBA

Remember to check HardingSports.com for all the latest information on your Bisons and Lady Bisons.

Nathan Looney, assistant sports information director

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Less than a week away from the men’s and women’s Great American Conference golf tournament championship, all the spring sports are down the home stretch for seeding in the GAC Tournament.

The Natural State Golf Classic is supposed to be a 36-hole event. But when Harding and No. 47 Southeastern Oklahoma State University both had two-round scores of 583, it became a 37-hole event that the Bisons won in a playoff. Southeastern led Harding by nine strokes with only four holes to play, but a couple of bad holes for the Savage Storm and two key birdie putts for Harding — one by Lucas Collins on the 16th hole and a 20-foot putt by Brad Lamb on 18 — knotted the score. To break the tie, the two teams went back to the par-5, 545-yard first hole. Each member of the two teams played the hole, and the best four scores for each team made up the team score. Harding had all five of its members available to play, but Southeastern had only four after team member Coleman Caldwell had withdrawn from the tournament on the eighth hole after suffering an injury. With nerves apparent, only one player birdied the hole, Southeastern’s Jeff Hunter, who was the tournament’s individual medalist. But after eight of the nine players finished the hole, Southeastern had a team score of 22, and Harding had a score of 20 with Nathan Kannenberg staring down a two-foot putt to win it. He made it, and Harding had its second tournament title of the 2013-14 season in the 11-team event.

“It was the most exciting golf I’ve been a part of,” head coach Dustin Howell said. It was the eighth time Harding had hosted the Natural State Golf Classic at the Red Apple Inn and Country Club and its first victory. Harding had four players finish in the top 10. Collins, Kannenberg and Alex Williamson all shot 4-over 146 to tie for fourth. Jordan Perry tied for eighth at 5-over 147, and Lamb tied for 29th at 13-over 155. However, Lamb shot 2-over 73, tied for Harding’s second-best score in the second round. Brittany Marquez led the Lady Bisons in the tournament, finishing tied for 18th as the team finished 10th.

Elsewhere …

Baseball: Harding fell in the series opener at Southwestern Oklahoma on Friday 8-2 but bounced back to win the series Saturday with a sweep as the Bisons won 9-2 and 10-7. In the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, Erin McCarver and Noah Chandler both had four-hit games. McCarver was 4-for-6 with two runs and an RBI, his second four-hit game of the season. Chandler was 4-for-5 with a run and two RBI. It was Chandler’s first four-hit game as a Bison. Each of the first six hitters in Harding’s lineup had two hits or more. The hits kept coming in game two as five Harding players had multi-hit games, including Matt Calhoun, who was 3-for-3 with two runs scored and his 10th double of the season. A two-run double by Chandler in the first gave Harding a 2-0 lead. Southwestern answered with a run in the first and another to tie the game in the third. But the Bisons took the lead for good with a run on Davis Richardson’s RBI single in the fourth and a six-run fifth inning that included an RBI double from Guerra and a run-scoring single from Richardson. Logan Holthaus got the win in game one, and Collin Campbell got the win in game two.

Softball: Harding picked up its first series sweep this past weekend. The Lady Bisons won 3-0 and 7-3 on Friday against Southwestern Oklahoma and then won 4-1 and 10-2 on Saturday. The Lady Bisons had seven hits in game one, led by Courtney Derrick who had three. Starter Amber Rollins went the distance to get her first shutout of the season and the Lady Bisons second shutout this season. In game two, Harding scored six runs on six hits in the sixth inning. Marley Edwards knocked in Kimmy Hendricks for the first run. Then Amanda Berdon hit a two-run homerun to give the Lady Bisons the lead. Brooklynn Moon and Carolyn Clayton knocked in the other two Harding runs. In the third game, Clayton got things going for Lady Bisons in the first with two RBI. The Lady Bisons scored again in the fourth inning, and Edwards knocked in Harding’s fourth run in the fifth after Hendricks tripled to right center field. In the final game of the series, Harding had a season-high five doubles and had 15 hits. It was the third time this season Harding has had 15 or more hits in a game. Six different Harding players had multiple hits. Courtney Chambers led the Lady Bisons going 3-for-3.

Men’s tennis: Harding went 1-2 on the week. The Bisons defeated LeMoyne-Owen College 9-0 but fell to Southeastern Oklahoma 6-3. Mathaus Spiering and Jon Mark Rowden won both singles matches this past week. Spiering defeated Southeastern Oklahoma’s Alberto Blesa, who was ranked No. 13, 7-6, 3-6 and 11-9. It was Spiering’s fifth-straight singles victory. He improved to 15-2 overall, 10-1 in dual matches, and 6-1 against regionally ranked opponents.

Women’s tennis: Harding won both of its GAC matches this week. The Lady Bisons upset No. 29 Arkansas Tech University on Friday 6-3 and then defeated Southeastern Oklahoma on Saturday 8-1. In its match against Arkansas Tech, Harding trailed 2-1 after doubles but got five singles wins for the team victory, snapping a four-match Arkansas Tech winning streak. It was the third victory against a nationally ranked team in program history and the highest-ranked team Harding has defeated. In the match against Southeastern Oklahoma, Harding won all three doubles matches for the eighth time this season.

This week’s schedule: (Home games in bold)
Tues., April 8
Men’s and women’s golf at Henderson State Invitational, 8 a.m.
Men’s and women’s tennis at Ouachita Baptist University, 2 p.m.
Softball doubleheader at Arkansas Tech University, 4 p.m.

Thurs., April 10
Men’s and women’s tennis vs. University of Arkansas-Fort Smith, 1:30 p.m.

Fri., April 11
Baseball vs. Henderson State University, 3 p.m.

Sat., April 12
Baseball doubleheader vs. Henderson State University, noon
Softball doubleheader at Henderson State University, 1 p.m.
Men’s and women’s tennis at East Central University, 9 a.m.
Men’s and women’s track at University of Arkansas at Little Rock Open, TBA

Sun., April 13
Softball doubleheader at Henderson State University, 1 p.m.
Men’s and women’s golf at GAC Tournament, TBA

Remember to check HardingSports.com for all the latest information on your Bisons and Lady Bisons.

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Photo by Jeff Montgomery

Photo by Jeff Montgomery

After a rainy Friday, the rest of the weekend was sunny and in the 60s, which set up for great weather to watch Harding sporting events.

The Harding men’s and women’s track teams hosted the annual Bison Invitational on Saturday. Ewa Zaborowska, Kristen Celsor and Rachael Domeyer each reached NCAA provisional marks on the women’s side, and on the men’s side Jacob McDonald set a new school record in the hammer throw, and Josh Syrotchen recorded an NCAA provisional mark in the discus. Zaborowska won the 800 meters in 2 minutes, 12.25 seconds, the fourth-fastest time in the event this season in NCAA II. Celsor cleared 5 feet, 6 inches, to tie the seventh-best height in NCAA II, and Domeyer won the javelin with a school-record throw of 132 feet, 4 inches, which ranks 15th in NCAA II this season. Harding’s women had several other event victories Saturday. In the sprints, Shana Holmes won the 200 meters in 25.91. Both distance events went to the Lady Bisons. Dallis Bailey won the 1,500 meters in 4:55.95, and Kelsey Taylor won the 5,000 meters in 18:45.46. The Lady Bisons won both relays. Holmes, Sarah Coleman, Rachael Price and Celsor combined to win the 4×100 meters in 49.53. Tammy Kim, Holmes, Zaborowska, and Celsor won the 4×400 in 3:58.63.

On the men’s side Jacob McDonald won the hammer with a throw of 156 feet, 10 inches, breaking his own record of 147 feet, 2 inches. Josh Syrotchen, won the discus with a throw of 164 feet, the fifth-best discus throw in NCAA II this season, and only four inches short of Harding’s record of 164-04 set by Bryan Rampey in 1997. Harding also won four other field events. Trey Adkison won the pole vault (13-11.75), Andrew Dather won the long jump (19-05.50), Ryan Cagle won the shot put (48-10), and Max McBride won the javelin (178-08). The Bisons also had an outstanding meet in the running events. Donatella Luckett won both the 100- and 200-meter dashes. He ran 11.04 in the 100 meters, and 23.04 in the 200 meters. Landon Belcher won the 400 meters in 49.45. In the distance events, Lucas Goodspeed won the 800 meters in 1:57.24, Taylor Lively won the 1,500 meters in 4:02.70, and Andrew Evans won the 5,000 meters in 15:17.65. Stephen Hedlund won the 400-meter hurdles in 55.70. Harding’s teams won both relays. The team of Corey Bassett, Kevin Naceanceno, Dillon Bagwell and Luckett won the 4×100 meters in 43.00. Naceanceno, Trevor Holloway, Bagwell and Belcher won the 4×400 relay in 3:20.52.

Elsewhere …

Baseball: Harding bounced back after a losing skid to sweep Northwestern Oklahoma in Great American Conference action on Saturday and Sunday. The Bisons won the first game on Saturday 11-4 and then won both games on Sunday 10-5 and 4-2. On Saturday, Trent Wooldridge, Erin McCarver and James Anderson had three hits each, and the Bisons scored in five straight innings to get the win. On Sunday, Noah Chandler went 5-for-6 with two doubles and three runs scored to lead the Bisons in the doubleheader. Cameron Walker got the win in game one, Hunter Payne got the win in game two, and Collin Campbell got the win in game three. Andrew Fiddler and Bronson Smith both recorded a save in the series.

Softball: The Lady Bisons struggled with the wind in Oklahoma this weekend. Harding dropped the first two games of the series on Friday and then split the doubleheader on Saturday. In the Lady Bisons’ 13-9 win on Saturday, Courtney Derrick, the first batter of the game, hit a homerun to right field to give Harding the lead. The Lady Bisons led the rest of the way as they scored in every inning and hit a season-high seven homeruns with Amanda Berdon hitting two. It was her first career multi-homer game and pushed her season total to five. Kinsey Beck (2), Carolyn Clayton (3), Kimmy Hendricks (4) and Courtney Chambers all had homeruns. It was Chambers’ first collegiate homerun. Harding also picked up two GAC wins against Arkansas Tech on Tuesday.

Men’s tennis: Harding went 0-2 on the week. The Bisons fell to Nebraska-Kearney and No. 16 Northwest Missouri by a 4-5 score. Mathaus Spiering won at the No. 1 singles for Harding in both matches.

Women’s tennis: Harding went 3-0 this week. The Lady Bisons defeated Nebraska-Kearney 6-3, Northwest Missouri 5-1 and Southern Nazarene 7-2. Harding led 4-3 over Nebraska-Kearney as the final two singles matches moved to the third set. The Lady Bisons needed only one win from either Piper Huey at No. 2 singles or Lauren Doversola at No. 4 singles, but both won. Against Northwest Missouri, Harding’s No. 1 doubles team of Benyapa Phumtip and Huey upset Lorena Jarolim and Alexis Bartek, ranked No. 5 in the Central Region, 8-5 to give the Lady Bisons a 1-0 lead. With a 2-1 lead, Harding quickly won two singles matches at No. 4 and No. 6. Kaleigh Wagner won 6-0, 6-0 and Doversola won her fourth-straight singles match. The Lady Bisons stayed undefeated in GAC action this season in their win over Southern Nazarene. Harding won 2-of-3 doubles and then won 5-of-6 singles matches.

Men’s golf: Harding saved its best for last Tuesday in the final round of the Jim Bishop Toyota Classic in Alabama, a 54-hole tournament played over two days on the Robert Trent Jones Fighting Joe Course. The Bisons entered the third and final round in 13th place but tied for the second-best round of the day and jumped to 10th of 14 teams with a 306. Harding finished at 938 after shooting 311 and 321 in Monday’s first two rounds. Harding’s best individual score of the third round was a 2-over 74 from Jordan Perry.

This week’s schedule (home games in bold):

Tuesday, April 1

  • Men’s and women’s golf host Natural State Classic, 8 a.m.
  • Baseball vs. Union University, 3 p.m.

Wednesday, April 2

  • Men’s tennis vs. Ouachita Baptist University, 1 p.m.

Thursday, April 3

  • Men’s tennis at LeMoyne-Owen College, 3 p.m.

Friday, April 4

  • Softball doubleheader vs. Southwestern Oklahoma State University, 2 p.m.
  • Baseball at Southwestern Oklahoma State University, 2 p.m.
  • Women’s tennis at Arkansas Tech University, 2 p.m.

Saturday, April 5

  • Softball doubleheader vs. Southwestern Oklahoma State University, noon
  • Baseball doubleheader at Southwestern Oklahoma State University, noon
  • Men’s and women’s tennis vs. Southeastern Oklahoma, 1 p.m.
  • Men’s and women’s track at Ole Miss Invitational, TBA

Remember to check HardingSports.com for all the latest information on your Bisons and Lady Bisons.

Nathan Looney, assistant sports information director

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