The Wildcats look to continue their recent roll in the Lone Star Conference this weekend against an Eastern New Mexico team that has struggled to score runs this season sitting in last place in runs scored for the year.
ACU has managed to stay relevant in the conversation for the LSC Championship Tournament field. The Wildcats, currently in seventh, have won seven of their last nine LSC games to put them just one game out of the sixth and final spot in the LSC tournament field.
“We all know what we have to do,” said ACU Head Coach Britt Bonneau. “We know if we don’t win, we don’t go to the tournament, and these guys have been great.”
With the recent surge the Wildcats have moved into the top five in the conference in batting average and runs scored in conference. However, Bonneau’s squad is still struggling on the mound. ACU pitching is allowing an average of 7.77 runs per game during their stretch of seven wins in nine games.
Pitching may not present too big of a problem for ACU since the Wildcats will face the third worst batting team by average in the LSC. The Greyhounds come into the weekend batting just .288 as a team, well below the LSC average of .311. In a weekend series with the LSC’s leading team, Savage Storm from Southeastern Oklahoma, ENMU managed to plate just 10 runs in three games.
ACU’s bats should not find runs difficult to come by against the second worst pitching staff in the LSC. The Greyhounds have allowed double-digit run totals in eight of their 19 conference games this season, second worst in the conference.
“We just want to keep on swinging the bats at the plate,” said senior Will Calhoun.
ACU will also rely on a newfound pitching product on their staff. Sky Valenzuela has become one of Bonneau’s go-to relievers since he made the transition to the mound just two weeks ago. During those two weeks, Valenzuela has an ERA of 1.23 allowing just one earned run in his 7.1 innings of work striking out six during that time.
“Having him on the mound has been wonderful,” said Bonneau. “He is such a smart player and he has good stuff.”
If the last four season series between these two teams is any indication, the Wildcats should be well on their way to moving into the top six in the conference. ACU is 12-4 over the last four seasons, nearly doubling up the Greyhounds in runs scored with an average of 8.8 runs per contest.
The Wildcats and Greyhounds will open their series Friday at 7:05 p.m. at Crutcher Scott Field. The series will conclude with a doubleheader Saturday. The first pitch for the first game of the day is scheduled for 2:05 p.m., and the second game is scheduled to start at 4:35 p.m.