The Wildcats continued their impressive play over the weekend by nearly sweeping No. 10 Texas A&M University-Kingsville in their own backyard.
The ‘Cats took 3-of-4 games from the Javelinas and improved their overall record to 18-11 (6-2 in the Lone Star Conference). Kingsville fell to 20-8 and 4-4 in the LSC.
“Everything is starting to click right,” said starting pitcher Aaron Lambrix. “Our defense has really helped our pitching staff. They’ve been a key to our success.”
“It’s been a long time since we’ve been able to go down to Kingsville and have an opportunity to sweep,” said head coach Britt Bonneau. “It’s a tough environment.”
The team won the first game of the series, 12-6 behind a barrage of 14 hits against six TAMU-K pitchers. A six-run seventh inning separated ACU from their conference rival.
The Wildcats trailed 5-1 after three innings but Seth Spivey, Travis Schuetze and Kyle Giusti helped the squad rally back. Spivey hit a solo home run in the third to cut the deficit to 3-1. Schuetze recorded two hits and three RBI, while Giusti was part of the six-run seventh when he singled down the right field line to plate two ‘Cats.
“I think he [Kingsville’s starting pitcher] got tired finally in the seventh inning,” Bonneau said. “When you’re scoring 10 runs in the last three innings, you’re going to give yourself a chance to win.”
On Saturday, the team received a pair of magnificent pitching performances from starters Carter Hahn and Lambrix. Hahn tossed six strong innings in the first game of a doubleheader. ACU won the contest 3-2. Hahn gave up four hits and two runs in route to the victory. He threw 100 pitches and struck out seven Javelinas. He also sat down the final 10 hitters he faced, a streak that lasted from the third inning through the sixth.
Closer Brady Rodriguez took over for Hahn in the seventh and retired the side in order to notch his fifth save.
Sophomore Tyler Eager had four hits and drove in a run. Giusti smacked two hits and recorded one RBI.
In the second game, Lambrix threw a complete-game one-hitter, while the Wildcats shut out Kingsville 4-0. Lambrix (3-2) retired the first nine batters he faced before he gave up a double in the fourth. He fanned five batters and threw only 79 pitches through seven innings.
“I have full confidence in our offense and my ability to throw strikes right now,” Lambrix said.
Catcher Rodge Macy started the scoring for the ‘Cats in the first when he whacked a single to center that drove in Eager and Spivey. Chuck Duarte turned on the first pitch he saw later in the inning to plate Kyle Conwell.
The series finale on Sunday was a nail-biter. The Javelinas got a single in the bottom of the ninth to drive in the game-winning run and avoid the sweep with a 4-3 win.
Much like the first game, the ACU offense put together a double digit hit total (11), however the team stranded 13 base runners including two in the eighth and three in the ninth.