By Grant Abston, Sports Editor
After a busy Saturday that saw seven different ACU teams compete in 13 different events, the Wildcats walked away with nine wins, two track qualifiers and a coaching milestone.
Head baseball coach Britt Bonneau won his 500th career game as ACU’s head coach, improving to 500-217-1 in his 13th season as head coach, all of them at ACU.
The baseball team began Saturday with a doubleheader against New Mexico Highlands, losing the first game 7-5 before winning game two 10-2 to give Bonneau his 500th win. In game one, the Wildcats put up three runs in the third inning to lead 3-1, but the Cowboys scored four runs in the top of the fifth after a pair of throwing errors and scored two more insurance runs in the seventh inning to give them a 7-5 win.
In game two, starting pitcher Cameron Aspaas went 6 2/3 innings, giving up six hits to lead ACU a 10-2 win, improving their record to 2-2 on the season. The Wildcats jumped on the Cowboys early, scoring five runs in the third, keyed by catcher Jordan Schmitt’s three-run home run. Schmitt finished with four RBI while shortstop Willie Uechi had three hits and center fielder Thomas Bumpass added two hits.
The softball team continued play in the St. Mary’s invitational, splitting a pair of games between Midwestern State and Cameron to improve to 3-2 on the season. Pitcher Jacque Gregoire improved to 3-0 on the season after leading ACU to a 4-1 lead over Midwestern State in the second game on Saturday. Gregoire pitched a complete-game five-hitter, giving up just one earned run while Katie Cornelison had three hits and one RBI to lead ACU.
In game one, the Wildcats held 3-0 lead after scoring two runs in the first and one in the third, but the Wildcats could not manage any more runs despite leaving 11 runners on base. Jenna Boren hit a three-run home run in the third inning to give Cameron a 4-3 lead.
Shleby McElvain led the Wildcats in game one with three hits and two runs, including a solo home run to lead off the game.
The men and women’s tennis teams competed in the ACU Indoor Open at the Eager Tennis Center on Saturday, sweeping both the men and women’s matches.
The 19th-ranked men’s team defeated Trinity (8-1), Prairie View A&M (9-0) and McMurry (8-1) to improve to 4-1 on the season. Juan Nunez won his only singles match against Trinity while losing his first doubles match with Hutton Jones Jr. to Trinity 6-8. Nunez and Ryan Hudson won their doubles match against Prairie View A&M 8-2 while Hudson won his singles match against Trinity 6-1, 6-2 and teamed with Eldad Campbell to win their doubles match against Trinity.
On the women’s side, the seventh-ranked Wildcats improved to 6-1 on the season after defeating Hardin-Simmons (9-0), Prairie View A&M (9-0) and McMurry (9-0). The Wildcats had no trouble sweeping all three teams as Irene Squillaci won two singles matches against Hardin-Simmons and Prairie View A&M and teamed with Dina Pavlin to win their doubles match against Hardin-Simmons. Pavlin also won both of her singles matches while Cassie Carver won two singles matches and teamed with Jaclyn Walker, Lauren White and Sarah Drummond to win three doubles matches.
The women’s basketball team defeated Texas-Permian Basin 83-43 at Moody Coliseum in the final non-conference game of the season for the Wildcat’s. Kelsey Darby led all scorers with 16 points while Jamie Meyer scored 15 points and Kristee Davidson added 11 off the bench for ACU who improved to 14-7 on the year.
The Wildcats put the game out of reach with just over 4:30 to play in the first half, going on a 20-0 run that did not end until the Falcons scored with 18:24 remaining in the second half.
Kat Kundmueller finished with eight assists and continues to lead the Lone Star Conference in assists, ranking fourth in the nation among Division II players. ACU holds a 5-1 record in the LSC South and will finish the season with six-straight LSC South Division games. The second-place Wildcats must remain in the top four to make the LSC Postseason Tournament.
The men’s basketball traveled to Cameron, losing 71-68 despite hitting 11 three-pointers in a Lone Star Conference crossover game. The Wildcats are 8-12 overall and 2-4 in the LSC South Division while the Aggies improved to 10-11 overall with the win.
The Wildcats lost leading scorer Dejan Sencanski just six minutes into the game and were already short-handed after losing starting point guard Riley Lambert on Friday with a sprained ankle. The Wildcats turned to Ean Wagner who started in place of Lambert and scored a game-high 22 points, including five of eight from three-point range.
The Wildcats cut the lead to 69-68 with 1:08 to play but could not close out the Aggies. Wagner came up with a steal with 39 seconds remaining, but the Wildcats couldn’t manage a good shot, losing 71-68.
Track & Field
The track and field team competed in the Texas Tech Invitational on Saturday, adding two more automatic qualifiers and three provisional qualifiers for the indoor national championship.
Camille Vandendriessche won the indoor heptathlon with 5,453 points and Landon Ehlers won the pole vault with a mark of 16 feet, 6.75 inches to automatically qualify for next month’s NCAA Division II indoor championship.
Jordan Johnson posted a provisional time of 48.34 in the 400 meters while Vandendriessche cleared 15-11.00 in the heptathlon pole vault to provisionally qualify him for the indoor championship in pole vault.
Kelli Clement’s throw of 47-0.75 moved her from provisional to automatic qualifying status in the shot put. Wanda Hutson won the 55 meters with a time of 6.96 seconds while Kim Prather finished second in the 200 meters in 24.26 seconds.