The Wildcats were shutout 8-0 in the first game against Cameron University but strong starting pitching, like it has for most of the season, allowed the team to win the final three games of the series and take three-of-four from the Aggies.
“Those were probably the biggest wins of the year,” said head coach Britt Bonneau. “It’s going to be hard to not make the conference tournament now. That’s a good feeling to have.”
The ‘Cats remain in second place in the Lone Star Conference with a 25-16 overall record and a 13-7 mark in the LSC. Tarleton State, who is in first place, lost to Angelo State on Sunday, so their lead on ACU is down to one game.
The Texans and Wildcats will play a four-game series in Stephenville this weekend. TSU enters the series at 14-6 in the conference.
ASU is third at 11-9 followed by Incarnate Word, West Texas A&M and Texas A&M-Kingsville.
Sunday’s finale was a 12-4 romping. The squad blew the game open when they scored five runs in the fourth inning.
Utility-man Travis Schuetze got the rally started with a leadoff double. He later scored on a Kyle Yorkman single to make it 2-0.
With the bases loaded four batters later, Seth Spivey hit a ball over the glove of the second baseman to drive in two runs and make the score 4-0.
First baseman Tyler Eager would then smack a double and infielder Kyle Giusti singled him and one other runner in making it 6-0.
Giusti recorded three hits on the day and drove in four runs.
The Wildcats came back and scored six more runs in the bottom of the seventh. Infielder Chuck Duarte singled in Schuetze making it a 7-3 game.
A walk to Rodge Macy to load the bases followed by another walk to Ryan Luckie made it 8-3.
“We’ve been missing that (the offense),” Giusti said. “It was great to see us score a bunch of runs.”
Starter Ty Taylor tossed six innings while scattering seven hits.
He allowed just two runs and improved to 4-4 on the year.
Saturday, the team swept a doubleheader against Cameron. They won the first game 2-1. Carter Hahn (7-2) was filthy on the mound in that contest. He gave up just four hits in a complete game effort while striking out nine Aggies.
The nightcap included another solid pitching performance by a ‘Cat. Aaron Lambrix threw 6.2 innings, but got a no-decision in a 4-3 final. ACU might have had luck on their side to help secure the victory.
The Wildcats had two outs in the top of the seventh and led 2-1 before a couple of hits and two errors put the team in a 3-2 hole.
However with one out in the bottom half of the inning, Giusti earned a walk to bring up Kyle Conwell as the game-winning run. Conwell was walked and replaced by pinch-runner Mason Smith.
Schuetze then stepped in the batter’s box and smashed a single to left to plate Giusti and move Smith into scoring position.
Luckie followed as a pinch-hitter and struck out swinging for the second out. But Bonneau had both runners moving to avoid an inning-ending double play.
Cameron’s catcher tried to gun down Smith at third, however his throw sailed high into left field and Smith scored the game-winning run.
“There’s times you just have to try and make something happen,” Bonneau said. “That time luck went our way.”
With very few arms out of the bullpen, ACU has really benefited from its starters going deep into ballgames.
“Right now we’re relying on six guys,” Bonneau said. “It’s given them (starters) confidence knowing they’re expected to pitch six or seven innings. They’ve been good enough to do that.”
The ‘Cats and Texans will begin their series at 3 p.m. on Friday, followed by a 2 p.m. doubleheader on Saturday and a 1 p.m. game on Sunday.