On a cold, dreary weekend in Abilene, the 13th-ranked Wildcats gave fans something to cheer about, sweeping all four games of the quadruple-header against Harding University during opening weekend. The final scores were 16-9, 6-5, 8-2 and 4-2.
“Our hitters one through nine are really strong,” said junior relief pitcher Chay Lytle. “Our pitchers also did a great job.”
Saturday spelled comeback for ACU as they rallied in both games. In the first contest, ACU found themselves down 9-8, heading into the sixth inning after a back-and-forth game. An eight-run eighth inning, however, turned a nail-biter into a blowout – 16-9.
In Game Two, the ‘Cats again were down 5-2, but a four-run fifth, capped by Cameron Bankston’s two-run double off the wall, gave the Wildcats a 6-5 lead. Bankston wasn’t done with his heroics, however; he recorded the last out of the game by nabbing a game-tying Harding run at the plate in the top of the seventh to secure the victory.
“We showed that we can always come back and never give up,” Lytle said. “That’s great to see in our team this early.”
Sunday was no different for the Wildcats.After a relatively easy 8-2 win in the afternoon, it was Bankston again who came up big for the Wildcats. With the game tied at two entering the bottom of the sixth inning, Bankston drove in the game-winning run. Closer Brad Rutherford pitched a scoreless seventh, and ACU came away from Sunday with two more wins.
“Come from behind wins are hard to pull off this early in the season,” said junior pitcher Jordan Hartley. “The closer you get as a team, the more you start to see that happen.”
Other stars from this weekend include Travis Latz, who amassed seven RBIs in four games, with a triple and home run. Bret Boschler also did damage at the plate, going 5-6 with three doubles, a homer and six RBIs on Saturday alone.He was also the go-ahead runner who won the final game Sunday.
“You always have to do the big things right, like hitting and pitching,” Hartley said. “But if you want to win tough games, you have to focus on the little things, and we did that.”
The ‘Cats will open Lone Star Conference play against Central Oklahoma at Crutcher Scott Field on Friday.