By Joshua Parrott, Sports Writer
The Wildcat baseball team closed out regular-season play Friday and Saturday after sweeping a four-game series from Lincoln (Mo.) University.
ACU, 39-16 overall and 15-8 in Lone Star Conference South Division play, prepare to take on LSC North Division champion Central Oklahoma Thursday at Broncho Field in Edmond, Okla., in the opening game of the LSC Post-Season Tournament.
Junior first baseman Arnie Gomez said ACU, which has won the last three conference titles and is ranked 12th in the county and fourth in the most recent South Central regional poll, isn’t too concerned about playing the nation’s fourth-ranked team and North’s No. 1 seed.
“We’re going to have to play them sometime; we might as well play them now,” said Gomez, who is tied for the team lead with eight home runs.
Gomez said the Wildcats need to be relaxed to stay prepared for postseason play. A strong showing this weekend will put ACU in position to earn a spot in the regionals.
“Everyone needs to know that they need to keep their focus and their confidence,” Gomez said. “Once players start stressing out and pressing, that’s when things start to go bad for us. We just need to stay clam and go out and have fun.”
The Wildcats were able to have fun last weekend, destroying Lincoln University (Mo.) with 57 hits and 48 runs in the four-game series.
ACU took the first game of the series 12-5 Friday afternoon as senior third baseman Brad Massey went 3-for-4 with 3 RBI. Seniors Chris Churchill, Luis Munoz and junior Paul Howey added two hits apiece as senior left-hander Robert Newland picked up his fourth win of the season.
The Wildcats exploded offensively in game two Friday night, spanking Blue Tigers’ pitchers for 22 hits and 20 runs. Junior right fielder Brian Johnson was a perfect 5-for-5 at the plate with a double, two triples and 4 RBI. Sopho-more infielder Ryan Barker and Howey added three hits apiece as junior right-hander Kade Simmons picked up his sixth win of the season scattering five hits over six innings.
A different Lincoln team showed up Saturday in game three of the series, as the Wildcats pulled out a 6-5 win behind the hitting of junior outfielder Don Brockman, who went 2-for-3 with a double, a home run and two RBI. Massey also went 2-for-3 with a home run and three RBI while junior left-hander Sam Hall earned his sixth win of the season.
The ACU bats woke from their brief sleep Saturday afternoon in the regular-season finale, banging out 12 hits and 10 runs while redshirt freshman right-hander Ben Brockman limited the Blue Tigers to one run on seven hits in seven innings to garner his first career victory. Four different Wildcats had two hits while Churchill added a home run and four RBI.
Senior infielder Beau Bimson said the Lincoln series showed the team’s potential.
“I think it shows we have the ability to score a lot of runs,” said Bimson, who is hitting .374 this season. “As a team, we came together a little closer.”
Bimson said he is anxious for Thursday.
“I can’t wait until the tournament starts,” Bimson said. “We have so much to prove. The last three years we’ve been LSC champions, and a lot of teams don’t think we are as good as we were in the past. If we want a shot at the World Series we need to dominate at conference to get to regionals. I think that everybody’s really ready.”