By Daniel Johnson, Sports Editor
With the game-winning run on third, all ACU needed to sweep Tarleton State was a hit from shortstop Willy Uechi. Instead, all Uechi had to do was take a step back and let second baseman Thomas Bumpass run home.
Bumpass scored the game-winning run in the ninth inning of the extra inning game after TSU catcher Keith Peacock lost the ball behind the plate after not catching a pitch from starter Garrett Carruth.
“Winning a close game like that really gives your team a boost,” Bumpass said.
ACU came out on top 2-1 in pitcher’s duel between ACU starter Trey Watten and Carruth to sweep the four-game series and extend its overall record to 28-8. ACU beat Tarleton in Sunday’s first game 7-8, and won both games Saturday, 14-3 and 8-1.
The 17th-ranked Wildcats’ sweep was the first against Tarleton in the teams’ playing history and lifted the Wildcats to first place in the LSC South. ACU is tied with Texas A&M-Kingsville. Kingsville swept West Texas A&M in its first LSC-South series.
The Wildcats’ stayed at No. 17 in the collegiate baseball newspaper national poll despite picking up four wins, but ACU now leads the league in RBI (281), team batting percentage (.365) and ERA (4.66).
“I’m excited to start out on top, but we still have a long way to go,” said starting pitcher Trey Watten.
A majority of the Wildcats’ wins over Tarleton were because of solid pitching from both its starters and the bullpen, the most impressive of which was closer Jameson Maj.
Maj pitched in all four games, striking out 15 Tarleton batters and only allowing four hits in six and two-thirds innings. Maj extended his single-season team record for saves to nine and tied the career save record set by former Wildcat Jarod Cross after picking up a save in game three against Tarleton.
“[My arm’s] not sore yet,” Maj said after two innings of work in game four. “It’s getting hard to lift a little though.”
Center fielder Matt Spotanski was the star of the Wildcat’s offense over the weekend, hitting a .588 at the plate and swinging for two triples and six RBI in four games.
ACU’s began its winning weekend with a 10-run comeback in game one.
The Wildcats fell in a 13-3 hole after Tarleton pulled ahead capping off a 12-run, three-inning rally in the top of the six. ACU responded with a six-run rally in the bottom of the sixth to avoid a 10-run rule.
After relief pitcher Matt Sullivan and closer Jameson Maj didn’t allow any runs in the final three innings, ACU battled back to win the game 14-13.
“When you make a comeback like that it shows that your team has heart,” said starting pitcher Chris Wiman.
ACU’s next conference matchup will be against defending LSC-South champs Angelo State on Friday at Crutcher Scott Field.
“Right now it feels like we really can’t be beat at home,” Bumpass said.