By Daniel Johnson, Sports Editor
It appears the 13th-ranked ACU baseball team is ready for the postseason.
ACU is first in the Lone Star Conference, has one of the deepest pitching staffs in the LSC and has already reached its team goal of 40 wins.
But before ACU can start swinging for an LSC championship, the Wildcats will have to sweep its final series to put them in the best position to make a run at the title.
“Our goal is to win the South, and we need to sweep so we can do that,” said head baseball coach Britt Bonneau.
ACU will secure first place in the LSC South and guarantee a No. 1 seed for the LSC Tournament on May 5-7 if the Wildcats sweep its four-game series in Canyon against West Texas A&M this weekend – a feat that isn’t unreasonable.
West Texas is last in the LSC South with a 3-11 conference record and 12-33 overall record, an unimpressive 7.18 ERA, bats .303 as a team and is last in the division in errors with 257.
In comparison, ACU is first in the LSC South with a 13-3 in conference 40-11 overall, is first in the LSC with a 4.20 ERA, is No. 8 in the nation in batting average at .362 and has the least amount of errors in the conference with 174.
ACU also has a chance to break the team’s regular season wins record this weekend after sweeping a two-game series against Texas-Permian Basin on Tuesday. ACU beat Permian Basin 2-1, 14-6 and is two wins away from breaking the former record of 41 set by ACU’s 1998 squad and tied by the 2005 squad.
“WT is a big series,” said closer Jameson Maj.
Maj had another big series against Permian Basin on Tuesday, picking up two saves in three innings of work to extend his LSC and ACU single season saves records. Maj’s 16 saves puts him in the top three for saves in the nation.
“Just keep them coming,” Maj said. “I just go out there and close games.”
ACU put six pitchers on the mound in preparation for the postseason, but the most impressive outing was a surprising performance by relief pitcher Matt Sullivan.
Sullivan’s first start of the season became his second win after he held Permian Basin to four hits and one run in six innings of work.
Bonneau said knowing that Sullivan can pitch well when needed gives the Wildcats insurance going into the postseason.
“We needed Matt to feel good about himself,” Bonneau said. “It’s good to know if we ever need a fifth starter in the playoffs, we’ve got a guy to go to.”
Sullivan, said the win helped him personally prepare for the upcoming postseason.
“This was a huge confidence booster,” Sullivan said. “I just got to get some good work in before playoffs start.”