After winning five straight in the early part of the season, the No. 30 Wildcats now have dropped three of four with a loss to the No. 18 St. Mary’s Rattlers on Tuesday 12-5.
“I think we’re putting ourselves in good position,” said head coach Britt Bouneau. “We’re not far from where we want to be.”
The Wildcats fell behind 5-0 after just two innings, allowing a four-run first inning and one more in the second, before finally getting on the board in the third. Coach Bonneau’s team hung four runs on pitcher Skye Severns, but none of them were earned as the Rattlers committed two errors in the inning.
After giving up five runs in the first two innings, starter Will Calhoun was replaced by reliever Brent Bray, who didn’t fair much better. Bray gave up three more runs in the third, as the Rattlers ran their lead from one run to four.
Pitchers Kevin Justice and Brady Rodriguez combined to throw three scoreless innings. But in the eighth, St. Mary’s struck again on pitcher Kris Carlson, who did not record an out and was responsible for all four St. Mary’s runs in the eighth. Carlson allowed three straight batters to reach base on walks before being pulled.
“Our focus as a team in late innings needs to be disciplined,” said senior Will Calhoun. “We have a bunch of very good athletes but we can’t bring it together because of a lack of focus.”
The Wildcats were unable to mount a comeback in the ninth inning and fell to the Rattlers 12-5.
Calhoun was hit with the loss, moving his record to 3-1 on the season with a 7.45 earned run average.
Duncan Blades was a bright spot in the Wildcats’ line up, Blades brought in three of the five runs for ACU. Aaron Oliver and JR Roland recorded multi-hit games for the Wildcats.
The Wildcats will take their 6-5 record into the weekend match-up with Division II opponent Texas A&M-International University. The Dust Devils are unranked coming into the weekend and are in the midst of a five-game winning streak.
“Our hitting has been pretty good, but its our pitching that needs to improve,” said Calhoun.
TAMIU currently sits third in the Heartland Conference, just two games behind the conference leader -and the team that just beat ACU -St. Mary’s.
Games are scheduled at Crutcher Scott Field for Friday at 7:05 p.m. and for Saturday at 2:35 p.m. and 4:35 p.m., and the series will conclude Sunday at 1:05 p.m.
“We have six games in four days so we will have a good chance to find a line-up that hopefully works for us,” said Bonneau.