By Daniel Johnson, Sports Editor
Head baseball coach Britt Bonneau knew Southeastern Oklahoma State, a former Division II College World Series champion, would be a challenge for the Wildcats this weekend.
What he didn’t know is how well his team would step up to that challenge.
“That team is always a tough team,” Bonneau said. “If you look over the history of ACU and Southeastern, we’ve had some wars.”
ACU dominated this season’s war, winning all four games to sweep the series and extend its home record to 12-0. The Wildcats beat the Savage Storm 12-11 and 15-3 Friday and 9-6 and 19-5 Saturday.
The wins pushed ACU to 15-3 overall and up one spot to No. 8 in the nation according to the Collegiate Baseball Magazine Division II poll, while Southeastern dropped to 5-11 overall.
“[The series] challenged our pitchers and it challenged our hitters,” Bonneau said. “But we met those challenges and did a god job of stepping up when we needed to.”
ACU’s batters stepped up, out-hitting Southeastern 55-20 and outscoring Southeastern 55-25.
But no matter how high ACU’s lead got or how many hits the Wildcats recorded, Bonneau said he was weary of Southeastern’s ability to claw back into a game.
“I didn’t care what the score was; there wasn’t any inning I relaxed,” Bonneau said.
Catcher Jordan Schmitt hit two home runs in the series, while third baseman Alec Sowards and designated hitter Matt McGuire also hit one out of the park.
McGuire, who only played on Saturday for the Wildcats, led the team with a single game school record of eight RBI on five hits.
Despite his team-leading, record-breaking performance, Bonneau said McGuire’s spot at the designated hitter position is unknown.
“When [Matt] gets up there and swings the bat he does good things,” Bonneau said. “Right now he’s an off-and-on guy, but hopefully he’ll be an everyday guy for us.”
Pitchers Brian Kennedy and Chris Wiman posted the two best starts for the Wildcats in the series. Kennedy pitched a full seven innings in game two and only allowed four hits and struck out four batters, while Wiman pitched allowed only two hits in six innings while striking out six batters.
The closest Southeastern came to beating the Wildcats was in the first game of the series.
After ACU had to go to its bullpen early because starter Ben Maynard reaggrivated a back injury, the game became a hitting battle as Southeastern scored at least one run in every inning of the game.
Southeastern held an 11-8 lead at the top of the sixth, but ACU battled back in the bottom of that inning to tie the game with one inning remaining.
ACU closed the gap with a three-run performance in the bottom of the sixth.
Closer Jameson Maj, who recorded one win and one save over the weekend, took the mound and struck out two batters and allowed no hits to give ACU a chance to win.
After loading the bases, Schmitt hit the game-winning single between second and first base to bring in the game-winning run.
ACU’s next series will be a four-game road series in Weatherford, Okla., against Southwestern Oklahoma State starting Friday.