Baseball won on Monday with a strong outing from its starting pitcher and a nice offensive effort from star-hitter Russell Crippen. Although this is usually good news, the win is the team’s first since March 15, and ends a 16-game losing streak.
The streak is by far the longest for ACU since joining the Southland Conference in its transition to Div. 1, but some notable things happened during the losing streak.
During the streak, senior Russell Crippen was in the middle of a career-long hit streak that went 25 games, just two short of the record. He’s also reached base in every single game this season, and has a batting average of .377. The crazy thing about this though is ACU’s offense has been doing much better than they have been the past few years: four people including Crippen have an average over .300, and the two best hitters on the team in Crippen and junior Luis Trevino have more RBI halfway through the season than the team leader last season. This offensive output is not being seen as a positive however, due to the atrocity of ACU’s pitching staff.
I mentioned that the starter for the win on Monday pitched well and he did. Sophomore and Abilene-native Derek Scott pitched a solid 7 innings of scoreless ball and threw just 88 pitches, lowering his season ERA to 2.76. This is the lowest on the team, but the thing is Scott isn’t a pitcher- ACU opted not to use a DH and have Scott hit, as he usually plays centerfield. Every other pitcher for ACU has an ERA of at least three, and only two pitchers have an ERA lower than four.
The relief pitchers are by far the most concerning part of this team, with the highest ERA’s on the team being over 15. Even in the win on Monday the two relievers almost blew the game by giving up a run in each of the innings pitched.
ACU has struggled with pitching for a while, but actually brought its team ERA to sub-five by the end of last season. However, its team ERA right now is 6.68, which is astronomically high. ACU is 1-17 in conference and still hasn’t won a conference game in over a month, which was in the first conference series of the season. I’m not saying I or anyone has a clear-cut solution to the problem, but something has to flip a switch on this squad or they will get their second second straight bottom-two finish, and their third in the last four years.