ACU baseball split its two-game series against the Alabama A&M Bulldogs Tuesday and Wednesday.
The Wildcats started off the series with a rough patch as they would drop the first game 9-5. The pitching staff struggled early on giving up five runs in the first inning. Tyler Eager, senior first baseman from Fort Worth, brought back the team with a three-RBI double.
The ‘Cats closed the lead down to two in the seventh inning but wouldn’t get any closer as the Bulldogs scored two in the ninth to seal the 9-5 win.
ACU bounced back Wednesday with a 6-3 win thanks to a group effort from the pitching staff. Brandon Lambright, sophomore pitcher from Friday Harbor, Washington, picked up the win with only two innings pitched. Senior Joe Gawrieh, junior Nate Cole and senior Ladgie Zotyka also pitched two innings each giving up a total of only three earned runs on the afternoon.
“Any win right now is going to help our spirits out,” said Britt Bonneau, head coach. “We have played some really close games the last three weeks, and a lot of those haven’t gone our way.”
ACU’s bats came up big for their pitching staff as Eager, Chris Altimont, sophomore outfielder from Southlake, and, Alex Copeland, junior catcher from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, went a combined 6-for-12 from the plate with three RBIs to lead the team.
“You know, we have been so close all season we just hadn’t put together a complete game yet,” Eager said. “We fell behind, but we knew we would eventually pick it up and find a way to win.”
The Wildcats will need to continue to improve as they are currently hitting only .226 as a team. Eager and Copeland lead the way hitting over .300 on the season but have a huge drop off with the next closest player hitting .242.
“We have a bunch of young guys right now,” Eager said. “When you come in after high school and you have been one of the best players, it’s hard because baseball is a game of failure. We are getting better, and last night was a good example.”
ACU’s pitching seems to be finding its rhythm in the bullpen but has yet to find consistent starters. Pitchers such as Zotyka, 0.87 era, Cole (1.15), Sheets (1.35) and Palacios (4.32) have kept the team in games late and will look to do the same heading into this weekend.
The Wildcats return to the field at 6 p.m. Friday to have a three-game Southland Series against McNeese State. The Wildcats head into the series at 3-14 overall and 2-4 in conference.