Coming off a 4-2 showing and two straight wins at the Southeastern Oklahoma Crossover tournament, the ACU softball team was riding high, heading into their day-night doubleheader against No. 12 Midwestern State on Sunday. And for six innings in the second game, it looked as if ACU was going to pull off the upset to defeat their conference foe at Wells Field.
The Wildcats rallied for five runs in the bottom of the fifth to take a 9-8 lead, setting up the probable comeback victory. Pitcher Shelby Hall then blanked the Mustangs in the top of the sixth.
But the wheels fell off the Wildcats’ wagon in the seventh inning.
The first two Mustang batters grounded out to start the inning, and a ground ball by MSU’s Nikki Duff appeared to be the third out of the inning, potentially ending the game and securing the comeback victory for ACU. But the ground ball skipped past second baseman Sarah Martinez, putting the game-tying run on the base path.
Courtney Bingham then hit a single to put two runners on base. After which, Kim Jerrick hit a ground ball to the middle of the infield, and it appeared once again the ‘Cats might emerge from the inning unscathed.
But the ball slipped past Ashley Calles, and Duff rounded the bases to score the game-tying run.
Both teams exchanged runs in the eighth inning and went scoreless in the ninth.
A Mallory Mooney single to center field would drive in the go-ahead run, and Carey Campbell followed suit, driving in two runs and bringing the score to 13-10, the final score of the extra-inning contest.
“That was definitely a tough game for us to swallow,” said Assistant Coach Ashley Reeves. “We just didn’t show up defensively and help our pitching out yesterday. We need to have all aspects of our game present when we play, and that did not happen Sunday. We hit the ball well enough to win, so now we need to focus on staying down on the ball.”
In their first game Sunday, the Mustangs’ Brittney Tanner silenced the ACU offense, which had been averaging more than five runs per game, as she struck out eight and allowed just one run and base runner – both coming on a homerun hit by Valentina Nabayna in the Mustangs’ 9-1 win.
The Mustangs improved to 17-1 and extended their winning streak to eight games, while the Wildcats fall to 8-8.
“Sunday served as a growing experience for us,” pitcher Shelby Hall said. “We’re not going to win them all. We all have something we can improve on. We need to flush out Sunday’s games and focus on improving and looking towards our next game.”
The Wildcats will be back in action Saturday in San Antonio for a double-header against St. Mary’s University and then head to Austin on Sunday to challenge St. Edwards University.