The baseball team returns to Crutcher Scott Field this weekend for a four-game series with Lone Star Conference foe Texas A&M University- Kingsville.
The opening game, on Friday, begins at 7:05 p.m. Saturday, the Wildcats play a double header starting at 2:05 p.m. The series will conclude on Sunday at 1:35 p.m.
Abilene Christian (14-11 and 2-2) recently finished a seven-game road trip with a 3-4 record which included a wild 10-inning affair with University of the Incarnate Word to close out the trip.
Head coach Britt Bonneau emphasized the effort his team has been showing all season.
“This team never gives up,” Bonneau said. “They’ve shown they can always come back and win games.”
In those seven games, the Cats batted .295 and scored a total of 42 runs compared to 45 for their opponents. Four of the Wildcats’ runs came by way of the home run ball.
Pitching, on the other hand, was a battle. The team posted an ERA of 5.54 and allowed a combined 17 free passes.
Outfielder Kevin Finklea led the Wildcats offensively. He hit over .400, scored seven runs, smacked one home run and had five RBI. Infielder Rodge Macy scored six runs and Duncan Blades led the team with six RBI.
Starting pitcher Aaron Lambrix was more than effective on the mound as he threw 11.0 innings and allowed only two earned runs that game.
No. 6 regionally ranked Kingsville (13-5 and 2-2) was picked to finish seventh in the LSC preseason baseball poll. The Javelinas were only ahead of the last spot, Eastern New Mexico University. They are currently tied for third in the conference with ASU, ACU and UIW.
TAMU-K is coming off a four-game split with Angelo State University and a most recent 2-1 win against the University of Texas- Brownsville.
Jake Mendiola leads the Javelina starters in batting average (.321), hits (18) and RBI (12). The team also has three other players hitting above .300.
The starting rotation is bolstered by Jaden Dillon and Adam Aspaas. Both players have four wins. Dillon sports a miniscule 0.84 ERA while Aspaas has an equally impressive 1.95 ERA.
Bonneau knows what his team is up against.
“They have a really good pitching staff,” Bonneau said. “It’s going to be a challenging week for our hitters.”
“We have to be aggressive and take our opportunities when there are guys in scoring position,” Bonneau said. “It’s going to boil down to doing all the little things right.”
Freshman Tyler Eager echoed Bonneau’s words.
“They can pitch,” Eager said. “They’ve been relying on pitching all year.”
“We’re looking to hit the fastball early on in the count,” Eager said.
Aspaas was named the Diamond Lone Star Conference Pitcher of the Week after last weekends performance versus the Rams of Angelo State. He gave up one unearned run in 7.0 innings and fanned six batters.
As a team, Kingsville struggles more on offense than pitching. TAMU-K is batting .256 but opponents are hitting .219 against them. The pitching staff has the second lowest ERA in the conference at 2.86.
“When you’re at home the goal is to always win the series and put yourself in a situation to sweep,” Bonneau said.
“We’ve been playing .500 ball all season,” Eager said. “We have to start putting all aspects of the game together.”