Wildcat softball was back in action as they faced off against the Texas A&M Prairie View Lady Panthers in the season’s first home game last week. ACU, now 3-4, swept Prairie View in convincing fashion in both games.
The ‘Cats got out to a quick lead, jumping out to 3-0 in the first inning. It would set the pace for the team, as they never let the Lady Panthers get close. Catchers Cara Hoover, junior from Azle, and Kaleigh Singleton, sophomore from Round Rock, both drove in two RBIs a piece. The ‘Cats would take the first game 8-0.
Emily Seidel, senior pitcher from Burbank, California, threw solid innings for ACU in the two games against the Cougars. She had 10 scoreless innings along with 14 strikeouts.
“One thing I really worked on was getting ahead in the count,” Seidel said. “When you get ahead in the count, it gives you so much more freedom to move the ball and throw what you want, play with the batter a little bit.”
Seidel did just that, allowing only two hits in the first game.
Going into the second game of the double-header, ACU was ready to continue the winning streak. They began the first inning with a single and scored the first run with a base hit to third base by Singleton that drove in sophomore Taylor Brown. The Lady Panthers wouldn’t go without a fight, though as Jalla Johnson and Alisa Navarro scored their first runs of the season.
But that’s all Prairie View would score. The Lady Panthers had a late breakdown as ACU rallied for five runs in the final two innings to give the Wildcats a final score of 6-2. Singleton would seal the game with go-ahead, two-run home run.
Seidel said, despite the different outcomes, the team didn’t play much different throughout the games in the tournament.
“I’m not sure we really played differently,” she said. “The stats of our opening tournament don’t fully reflect the way we played. Yes, we lost four games, but we had some games where we were hitting really hard, but we couldn’t find a gap.”
In any game, though, the Wildcats go out with the same mindset.
“When we’re playing our game, we have fun and we don’t get caught up in any pressure,” Seidel said. “We relax and get our jobs done.”
The Wildcats will travel to Waco this weekend to compete in a three-day tournament against some of the top teams in the nation including the University of Oregon, Baylor, and North Texas.
Despite the big names, the ‘Cats aren’t nervous.
“We can’t worry about who we’re playing,” Seidel said. “They’re going to play their game. If we do the best we can do, we stand a good chance against just about anybody. That being said, it’s going to be a lot of fun playing the No. 2 team in the country on Friday. It’s every competitive athlete’s dream to play against the best competition.”
ACU will have road games until March 6 when they begin conference play at home.