The Wildcat softball team traveled to Nacogdoches to take on Stephen F. Austin in a three-game series this weekend and came out with two wins.
ACU won the series opener Saturday, 8-2. Senior shortstop Peyton Hedrick hit her eighth home run of the season, and senior pitcher Hannah Null struck out four on her way to her 18th win of the season.
The second game immediately followed, and the Wildcats earned another victory 5-2. Freshman pitcher Calie Burris started on the mound, going 6 1/3 innings to pick up her fifth win of the season. Senior first baseman Brianna Barnhill hit a three-run home run in the fourth inning to give ACU a 3-1 lead.
Barnhill’s homer would prove to be enough, as her team would only surrender one more run in the game on its way to victory.
The Lumberjacks won the final game of the series 3-1 on Sunday, thanks to a one-run complete game by senior pitcher Makayla Sikes. Barnhill hit her second home run of the series in the top of the second to give her eight home runs on the season.
Knowing they had already clinched a spot in the Southland tournament, Null said the team played with a cool, relaxed passion.
“We went into SFA wanting to take at least one game,” Null said. “We knew either way we were secured a spot in the tournament, so we were relaxed, and I think that was a huge reason we were able to take two wins.”
The Wildcats finished the regular season with an overall record of 23-25 and a conference record of 15-12. The Lumberjacks completed its season with a record of 31-20 overall and 18-9 in conference.
ACU now looks forward to its first ever Southland Conference Tournament appearance, going against Northwestern State. The Wildcats enter the tournament with a bit of momentum, winning five of its last eight conference games.
Earlier in the season, the Wildcats hosted the Demons in a three-game weekend series. Northwestern emerged as the winner of the series, taking the second game 9-1 and the third 4-0. ACU did, however, win the first game 4-3.
Null said her team is ready to take the field against Northwestern.
“We’re all really excited to get the week started,” Null said. “We’ve imagined this feeling our whole career, and now we finally get to experience it ourselves.”
ACU will travel to Lake Charles, Louisiana, Tuesday. The first pitch against the Demons will be at 1:30 p.m.