By Daniel Johnson, Sports Editor
The ACU baseball team is used to starting a season undefeated, and this year is no different.
The nationally ranked Wildcats, who has started undefeated in four of its last seven seasons, swept Henderson State in its first three games of 2007. ACU won both games on Saturday 10-5, 3-2 and the final game on Sunday 14-3.
“I didn’t know what kind of team we really had this season,” said designated hitter Matt McGuire. “For us to come out and get the sweep is huge.”
The Wildcats 3-0 start lifted ACU up one spot to No. 16 in the Division II Collegiate baseball newspaper national ranking.
McGuire’s bat was huge for the Wildcats against Henderson, as he went 5-5 at the plate for six RBI.
“We’re hoping he’ll continue to have a big year,” said head coach Britt Bonneau. “He’s a great hitter and we’re excited to have him.”
McGuire, who is filling the shoes of former ACU designated hitter and homerun record holder Joel Wells, attributed his success at the plate to the fast base runners the Wildcats have.
“With those guys on the base path you’re gonna have a lot of RBI’s show up,” McGuire said. “You just need to put the ball in play and let them run around the bases.”
One such base runner was starting second basemen and lead-off hitter J.J. Pacheco. Pacheco scored five times, recorded four doubles, hit a .429 in the series and stole one base.
The biggest performance on the mound for ACU was pitcher Trey Watten. Despite it being his first official start as an ACU pitcher, Watten led the Wildcat bullpen with six strikeouts in five innings pitched.
“I think it was the first real game I’ve ever pitched in,” Watten said.
Watten, who also started as shortstop in Saturday’s games, also was successful on the other side of the plate, hitting a home run in game two of the series and posting a .750 slugging percentage over the weekend.
Other solid bats for the Wildcats were catcher Jordan Schmitt and third baseman Alec Sowards who each had a home run in the first game. Schmitt batted a .500 over the weekend and Sowards hit a .364.
“It was a productive first weekend,” head coach Britt Bonneau said.