By Ryan Cantrell, Sports Writer
Britney Benedict joined an elite group in ACU’s record book Tuesday, becoming only the fifth player in the school’s history to throw a no-hitter. Benedict’s pitching led the Wildcats to an 8-0 victory Tuesday. Another strong pitching performance by Kim White in the second game led the Wildcats to sweeping the doubleheader against UT-Permian Basin.
“We did a great job coming out and playing,” head coach Chantiel Wilson said. “Britney mixed up her pitches and kept her focus. She wasn’t thinking about the no-hitter and kept her composure and pitched a great game.”
Benedict walked two batters, and only one was allowed to advance to second. With the victory, Benedict improved to 4-4 on the season. The Wildcats scored eight runs in the first game, which forced the run rule, and the game ended after five innings. The offense was led by Melissa Rodriguez, who had a pair of solo home runs. Three others had RBI singles, and then Shelby McElvain hit a two-run homer to extend the lead to 7-0. The game ended early when Katie Cornelison hit a bases-loaded single that scored Brooke Whittlesey in the fifth.
The second game, Kim White continued where Benedict left off, pitching well and only giving up one hit in four innings with one earned run. The Wildcats would use a balanced offensive attack to put up eight runs again against UT-Permian Basin. Six players for the Wildcats drove in runs, and the Wildcats won 8-2.
ACU is looking to conclude its season with a three-game series against Eastern New Mexico. The Lady Zias have struggled this season in conference. They sit at the bottom of the standings with a 2-12 record, while the Wildcats enter the series with a 12-3 record.
Despite their poor record, the Zias still can hit the ball well. The team is led by Kristen Cruickshank, who leads the team in hits and RBIs. Cruickshank also has hit an impressive 14 home runs on the season, which is four more than any ACU player.
“They are a good hitting team, so we are going to have to hit well at the plate,” Wilson said. “We are going to try to get runs in every inning and win the run battle every inning.”
The series is important to the Wildcats because if they can take care of business and sweep, it gives them a chance to finish first in conference. Currently, ACU is tied for first with Angelo State. A Wildcat force Angelo State to sweep Texas A&M-Kingsville team. If both teams sweep, Angelo State would win conference because it won the series against ACU earlier in the season.
“We know we need to go out there and sweep and hope Kingsville can steal one so that we end up in first alone,” Wilson said.