The Wildcats are headed to the Lone Star Conference Post-Season Baseball Tournament after missing out last year. However, the team is slipping into the tournament with a 6-11 LSC record in their final 17 conference games to end the season.
With the help of Cameron University, the ‘Cats claimed the sixth and last seed in the tournament.
“It’s something our program really needed,” said junior infielder Travis Schuetze.
“Besides Angelo, everyone else needs to win this tournament to move on to regionals,” said head coach Britt Bonneau. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a six seed or a second seed, we all have to win four games.”
While ACU ended the regular season at Angelo State University on Sunday with a 12-3 loss, the Aggies were swept in Lawton, Okla. against Tarleton State University. As a result, the Wildcats finished 11-17 in the conference, one game ahead of Cameron (10-18).
The ‘Cats were also swept over the weekend. A four-game series resulted in a 16-0 loss in game one, a 14-2 and 4-2 loss in games two and three and a 12-3 defeat in game four.
“There were obviously some games we didn’t hit at all and didn’t pitch very well,” Bonneau said. “We hit a lot of hard balls right at them.”
“In the last few games, when we got a hit those players scored,” he said. “We need to build on that.”
The team finished below .500 (24-26) in the regular season for the first time since 1995. ACU will play No.1 seed Angelo in San Angelo. It is the first time the LSC tournament has been held there.
“The whole team is excited to face Angelo again,” Schuetze said. “We are the underdogs.”
The series opener was the worst loss of 2012 for the Wildcats. The game got out of hand from the beginning as the Rams scored half their runs in the first inning. All nine of ASU’s hitters recorded at least one hit and a run.
“ASU has exceptional hitters,” Schuetze said, “especially against fastballs and some of our pitchers had to rely on the fastball heavily this past weekend.”
Schuetze went 3 for 3 and Chuck Duarte had two knocks. They combined for all five of ACU’s hits.
In game two, Angelo State led 3-0 before they scored seven runs in the fifth inning to jump ahead 10-0.
Starter Jordan Herrera received the loss. He gave up 10 hits and eight runs in four innings. Michael Curtis had a short relief appearance. He allowed six runs in only one inning.
The ‘Cats had a small 1-0 lead in game three off a Reed Watson sacrifice fly in the second inning. It was short-lived however, as the Rams produced three runs of their own in the bottom of the second inning going up 3-1.
Abilene Christian let a seventh inning opportunity slip away. They had runners on first and second with two outs, but Duncan Blades struck out looking for the final out of the game.
The finale was closer than the line-score showed. ACU tied the contest 3-3 in the top of the sixth only to see ASU break away with a three run home run in the bottom half. From there, the Rams never looked back. They went on to score two more in the seventh and four in the eighth to claim the 12-3 victory.
“Those first six innings were a reminder of what we’re capable of,” Schuetze said. “We hung with them until that inning.”
Aaron Lambrix settled for the loss after going five innings and allowing six runs on seven hits.