The Wildcats will take on the McNeese State Cowboys in a three-game conference series at Crutcher Scott Field.
ACU has struggled in conference play this season, only winning one game against Incarnate Word. The team is 1-11 including three-straight series in which it was swept. Although the bats have been working this season, with most offensive leaders already higher than last year’s leaders, pitching and errors have been a problem for the Wildcats. In games without an error, the Wildcats are 6-1, but they are 3-15 when they make an error, including going 0-11 when making 2 or more errors.
Meanwhile McNeese is off to a hot start this year, going 20-9 overall and 10-2 in conference, good enough for second place behind Sam Houston State. Although it is playing well, the Cowboys struggle when away from home as they’ve gone 5-8 when visiting this season.
Outfielder-turned-third baseman Matt Gallier leads the Cowboys with a .388 batting average and eight home runs, and is tied for second in RBI with 26. On the mound McNeese is led by the duo of relief pitchers: RHP Grant Anderson, who is 5-0 in 14 appearances and has a 1.53 ERA in 29 1/3 innings pitched, and RHP Peyton McLemore, who has a 0.77 ERA in 9 appearances with 11 2/3 innings pitched.
Senior Russell Crippen leads the Wildcats in batting average and midway through the season is still hitting over .400, with an average of .414, and .432 in conference play. Crippen has a chance to make ACU history as he has hit in all 25 games this season, 26 going back to the last game of the season. The current record is 27, held by Mike Elkerson, and was reached in 2007. Although Crippen has hit in 26 straight games, ACU only counts hit streaks that happen in one season, so he must hit in all three games this series to break ACU’s record..However, the Southland Conference record books count multi-season hit streaks, and the current record is 36 held by Andrew Kainer from UT-Arlington, and was done in 2009.
ACU has not lost a game when it holds its opponents to three runs or less. The pitching just needs to get their job done to get back on track.
The three games take place Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m., and Sunday at 1 p.m.