By Joel Weckerly, Sports Editor
The Wildcat baseball team continued its late-season surge over the weekend by taking two of three games from Lone Star Conference South rival Tar-leton State. ACU improved to 22-17 overall and 10-5 in the LSC South with the series win, which gives the Cats 11 wins in their last 12 games.
After losing the series op-ener 6-4 Friday, ACU responded with a 10-1 win in the nightcap and finished off the Texans 4-1 in Saturday’s game.
Tarleton State’s losses put the team (15-24, 5-9) 4 1/2 games behind second-place ACU, which is in turn two games behind first-place Texas A&M-Kingsville (21-14, 12-3).
Kingsville swept West Texas A&M in a three-game series last weekend to stay on top of the feisty Wildcats.
“Those were the biggest wins we’ve had all year,” head coach Britt Bonneau said. “To come back and win two over a solid conference team after we lost the first one is big. We’re 10-5 in conference-that’s two out of three every weekend. I can’t ask for much more than that.”
The Wildcats got behind in the series in Game 1, when they committed two errors that translated into two TSU runs, and left eight men on base offensively.
But ACU jumped on TSU starter Dustin Holland in Game 2, pounding him for five runs on four hits with two outs in the first inning. Wildcat starter, sophomore Ben Brockman, improved to 5-2 with a complete game, seven-strikeout, seven-hit performance.
“It’s definitely nice to have that run support,” Brockman said after the game. “It makes it easier to pitch.”
Sophomore first baseman Joel Wells went 2-for-3 with an RBI in the third game to put the Texans away 4-1. Freshman starting pitcher Ben Maynard scattered three hits and stuck out four in a seven-inning performance.
“It’s a breath of fresh air to be playing like this,” Brockman said of the Cats’ late great play. “The beginning of the year was frustrating.”
First-place Texas A&M-Kingsville faces Tarleton State this weekend before playing host to ACU April 9-10. Bonneau said any blows to the Javelinas’ confidence before that series are welcomed.
“If we want to win [the conference], we need help from other people,” he said. “There’s no doubt about that.”
After playing Dallas Baptist at home Tuesday, ACU gets a weekend off because Lincoln (Mo.) canceled the four-game series it was to have played this weekend due to budget restraints.
Bonneau said ACU is adding three more games against Texas-Permian Basin Tuesday (only one had been scheduled) to help make up for three of the four games missed.