The baseball team was swept in their final home stand this weekend against Southland Conference leader Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
The three-game series was extremely close, with two out of three games coming down to the last inning to decide the winner.
Friday’s opening game of the series looked like a victory for the ‘Cats as they held a 6-5 lead heading into the top of the ninth. But Wildcat closer Kevin Sheets could not hold off the Islanders from there, giving up a ground ball up the middle with an 0-2 count to A&M- Corpus Christi left fielder Jordan Lee to bring in Kyle Danford from second base and send the game into extra innings.
After a scoreless tenth from both teams, Corpus Christi finally brought the game to an end in the 11th. After an error and two walks loaded the bases for the Islanders, Lee was the hero again, driving in two runs with a double down the left field line. Corpus Christi pitcher Jacob Dorris made quick work of the Wildcats in the bottom of the 11th to give the Islanders an 8-6 victory.
Saturday’s contest concluded with another comeback from the Islanders. ACU carried another lead late in the game, up 4-3 in the sixth. Russell Vaughan changed that with a two-RBI single to center field to give the Islanders the lead. Corpus added three more runs and shut down the Wildcats’ offense to win the second game 8-4.
The final game on Sunday was a high-scoring offensive duel and a defensive struggle for both teams. Things looked bleak in the fifth inning when the Islanders gained an 11-5 lead off of one hit and three ACU errors. The Wildcats answered in the bottom of the inning with four runs off of singles from Seth Spivey, Russell Crippen and Gunnar Buhner. They scored another in the sixth when Emil Litterer singled and came home on an error by shortstop Josh Garza, but Corpus Christi reliever Jacob Dorris outlasted the Wildcats’ bats in the final innings, and the Islanders picked up the 11-10 victory.
The three losses dropped the Wildcats to 16-28 overall and 5-13 in the conference, while Corpus Christi improved to 28-21 overall and 17-7 in conference. Corpus Christi also moved into first in the Southland after this weekend’s sweep.
ACU and A&M Corpus Christi combined for a messy weekend as they committed 19 errors, 10 of which happened in Sunday’s game.
Head coach Britt Bonneau said the team needs to clean up its game a little bit, but was happy with the effort he saw from the team.
“We were a little disappointed and we committed a lot of errors that cost us,” Bonneau said. “We made poor choices defensively but fought until the end.”
ACU will finish its season with 10 away games, including game against Arizona State University and three against the University of Arizona.
Bonneau said the coaches are still assessing players for next year and are looking for some to stand out.
“Obviously we are still evaluating these guys,” Bonneau said. “These guys are gonna be guys that can step up in play in those types of atmospheres and we need guys to be fearless.”
The Wildcats roll into another tough series this week as they travel to Tulsa to play Oral Roberts University (25-22 overall, 12-12 SLC). Game one begins Friday at 6:30 p.m.