The ACU softball team is looking to rebound off a 1-4 weekend at the Lone Star Conference Crossover Tournament last weekend as they head to Denton to take on Texas Woman’s on Friday and Saturday.
The Wildcats (21-20, 6-3) had a subpar showing at the LSC Crossover Tournament, yet are still second in the LSC South standings behind No. 10 Angelo State.
As the conference schedule progresses, every game for the Wildcats from here on out is critical as the conference tournament looms on the horizon.
“Our schedule is dwindling down, meaning that every series from here until the end of our conference schedule is crucial. We have to bring our ‘A’ game to every game and play to the best of our ability in order to be where we want to be,” Head Coach Bobby Reeves said.
Texas Woman’s (4-5, 21-17) will be a formidable opponent for the ‘Cats. The LSC Crossover Tournament proved to be unwelcoming to the Pioneers too, as they are on a five-game losing skid.
But Reeves knows that they are a dangerous team and should not be taken lightly no matter their recent history.
“Texas Woman’s is going to show up and play like they always do. They do the little things right and have a way of getting wins,” Reeves said.
The Texas Women’s offense runs through leadoff hitter Bailey Vrazel. The freshman leads the team in four major offensive categories, including batting average, runs, hits and stolen bases.
“She is what makes that team so dangerous. Her ability to get on base and make opposing teams pay is something we’ve been focusing on in practice this week,” Reeves said. “We have to limit her when we’re on defense.”
Vrazel is TWU’s offensive catalyst due to her ability to make things happen on the basepath. She leads the LSC in stolen bases (49) and is second in Division II in stolen base efficiency.
This is something that ACU catcher Erin Gilliland will try to limit, and she is ready for that challenge.
“They are a very sound team on the basepaths. They take advantage of every opportunity to run and will no doubt challenge me. We’ve really been working on limiting bad throws and having clean exchanges in practice so we can keep the damage to a minimum. It’s our goal to keep Vrazel off the basepaths,” Gilliland said.
The Wildcats enter Friday’s game on a three-game losing streak, but are hopeful that things will go accordingly against TWU if they get back on track offensively hitting the ball and continue to improve defensively.
“You know, every team goes through small hitting droughts like we did last weekend. It’s part of the game. But we’ve been focusing on hitting this week in practice and feel like we’ll be ready for this series,” Reeves said.
Abby Burns, a TWU softball player, was recently diagnosed with leukemia. To allow her teammates to attend an event in support of Burns, the teams will play two games Friday, starting at 5 p.m., and one game Saturday at noon.