The baseball team began its season last weekend in Houston at The Astros in Action D-II Invitational. The Wildcats left Minute Maid Park with a 2-2 record and memories that will last far beyond this season.
“That was not something that everyone gets to do at any point in their life,” said junior relief pitcher Brady Rodriguez. “It was a lot of fun being in a big environment in a big stadium.”
Head coach Britt Bonneau was just as astounded at the ballpark.
“It’s so big so you don’t know if anyone is there,” he said. “That is an experience that those guys, myself and the coaches will remember for a long time.”
The ‘Cats played their first game on Friday against the University of Arkansas at Monticello and clobbered the Boll Weevils 13-3. Starting pitcher Jordon Herrera got the nod for the team and went the distance throwing seven innings in the run-ruled contest. He allowed seven hits and struck out eight batters.
“He was locating his fastball all game,” Bonneau said. “But when his breaking pitch is working, it makes his fastball that much harder to hit. We really like where he is mentally right now.”
ACU and Arkansas Monticello were tied 3-3 after the top of the fifth inning, however the Wildcats scored two runs in the bottom half to push their lead to 5-3. The squad would go on to score eight runs in the final two innings and leadoff hitter Seth Spivey could be attributed to much of that success.
Spivey reached base in all five plate appearances and scored three runs.
The team had a tough task in their second game. They faced No. 4 University of Central Missouri, who knocked them off 8-1 on Saturday night.
The game was scoreless until the fourth inning when the Mules crossed the plate five times. Starter Ty Taylor went just 3 2/3 innings in his Wildcat debut and gave up five runs on seven hits. Spivey scored the ‘Cats lone run in the sixth after infielder Kyle Giusti whacked a fly ball to deep right field for a sacrifice fly.
ACU’s offense caught fire again on Sunday against University of the Incarnate Word. The team scored 12 runs on 14 hits as they routed the Cardinals 12-5.
Guisti recorded two more RBI in the win and the top three batters in the ‘Cats’ lineup (Guisti, Spivey and Taylor) went a combined 5 for 13 with four runs scored and four RBI.
“When they get on it gives more opportunities for Macy, Duarte and Eager to get their RBI in,” Bonneau said.
Senior catcher Rodge Macy had two RBI and a hit. Travis Schuetze (No. 9 hitter) provided production from the bottom of the order. He went 2 for 3, scoring two runs and smacking two RBI.
Senior transfer Carter Hahn pitched 4 2/3 innings and allowed five earned runs on seven hits. Senior Aaron Lambrix took over for Hahn and tossed the final 4 1/3 innings, limiting the Cardinals to three hits and no runs.
The Wildcats closed out the D-II invitational with an 8-5 loss to Texas A&M University-Kingsville on Monday. The Javelinas scored seven runs in the fifth inning to secure the win.
Southpaw Austin Palmer (0-1) threw 4.1 innings and gave up five runs in the contest.
The ‘Cats open up their first home stand of the season against East Central University this weekend. The team plays at 4 p.m. on Friday, at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday.