The ACU Wildcats will travel to Normal, Ala. Saturday for a three-game series against the Bulldogs.
The ‘Cats are looking to rebound after a tough stretch of games where they lost eight of their previous nine games. A tough schedule over the last few weeks against Div. I opponents should prepare the Wildcats for their first year in the Southland Conference.
ACU enters the weekend series with a 7-10 record while the Bulldogs come in with an 8-15 record.
Head coach Britt Bonneau believes the game will be a good chance for some younger guys to get some playing time.
“Over the next five games we’ll be playing a lot of guys trying to see who wants to compete a little bit,” Bonneau said. “Some guys haven’t gotten a lot of at-bats so we would like to get those guys some at-bats, and maybe see if they respond a little bit better than the other guys.”
The Wildcats will need help from seniors Seth Spivey and Kyle Giusti, and freshman Brandon Grudzielanek to beat the Bulldogs. Spivey has dominated at the plate this season with a .462 batting average, 19 runs and two home runs. Kyle Giusti leads the team in runs batted in with 13 and is second on the team in runs with 12.
Grudzielanek has started off his collegiate career batting .373 going 22-for-59 at the plate in his 16-game appearances.
“He’s been doing good,” Spivey said. “We can’t ask him for much more for how well he has been competing and we just need some others to step up in big time situations.”
ACU will need every bit of help from both the batting order and the bullpen against the Bulldogs. The Bulldogs bring in a solid starter in Joshua Freeman who has a 2.25 earned run average and leads the team in strikeouts. They also bring in a solid hitter in Andrew Utterback who leads his team with a .408 batting average, three home runs and 25 runs batted in.
ACU is still looking for players that will compete in the Southland Conference, Bonneau said.
“You know, for us coaches, it’s still an evaluation period on who can play at this level and who can’t,” Bonneau said. “So we have to get these guys a shot.”