The Wildcats struggled against Tarleton this weekend, losing three of four to the Texans; however, with the win on Saturday, ACU clinched the Lone Star Conference crown.
“We’ve got to pitch better,” Bonneau said. “We didn’t do a good job of pitching this weekend.”
During the first game Friday, center fielder Aaron Oliver started the game with a one-run home run. Tarleton matched that run with a run in the second and two more runs in the third, while keeping the Wildcats from scoring. In the fourth inning, Cameron Aspaas gave up one run to the Texans before Ian Tomkins hit him in the back of the head with his throw to pick off the runner attempting to steal second. Aspaas walked off the field with a cut in his head and eventually got staples, said Head Coach Britt Bonneau. He said Aspaas should be able to play in next weekend’s tournament.
Ryan McCabe came in to pitch for Aspaas and held the Texans, but their run in the fourth was the last run of the game for either team; the Texans won 4-3.
In the next game of the doubleheader, the Texans took a quick lead when Kevin Justice gave up five runs in the first inning. Jordan Hartley came in to pitch for Justice in the second, and the Wildcats got back on track in the bottom of the second, scoring one run. However, the Texans were on a roll, scoring four more runs on Hartley.
The Wildcats couldn’t get any big numbers on the board until the sixth inning when they scored three runs. Unfortunately, the Texans matched those three runs in the ninth inning. The Wildcats needed more than one inning to catch the Texans; the final score was 13-7 Tarleton.
In the first game Saturday, Zach Sneed started the game pitching, giving up three runs to Tarleton in the first and four more in the fourth. The Wildcats finally got their bats in motion in the bottom of the fourth, scoring three runs from four hits, plus one run in the fifth. Josh Crockett and Brad Rutherford were able to keep the Texans from scoring, but ACU’s offense couldn’t get past the Texan defense and lost the game 7-4.
“They outpitched us the first three ball games, and we weren’t able to capitalize when runners were in scoring positions and get those crooked numbers on the board,” Bonneau said. “I know of four innings that we gave up more than three or four runs, and that was the difference in the game.”
The Wildcats turned things around in the second game Saturday. Aaron Lambrix gave up one run in the first inning, but Oliver had a lead-off home run to tie the game 1-1. In the fifth, an RBI by Uechi gave the Wildcats the lead over the Texans for the first time in the series. The Texans scored two more runs in the sixth, but the Wildcats regained their lead in the bottom of the sixth when Travis Latz pinch hit for Steve Camillucci and hit a three-run home run. Brad Rutherford relieved Lambrix in the seventh and gave up no runs for the rest of the game. The Wildcats scored one more run in the eighth to win the game with a final score of 6-3.
“It’s unfortunate we had to use Rutherford that much, but I thought it was important to not get swept at home,” Bonneau said. “It’s been a long time since that has happened to us as a program, and we wanted to finish the week, hopefully, on a better note.”
Because of rain delays, the Wildcats played seven games this week. Bonneau said this may have had an effect on the Wildcats, but overall, he thought it ended on a good note.
“To finish the week at four and three, I think it was a productive week for us,” Bonneau said.
Next weekend, the Wildcats will play in the LSC division tournament. Oliver said they are focusing on keeping their spark.
“We’re going to need to hopefully have better energy and be able to have that presence when the tournament starts,” Bonneau said.