The ACU baseball team won its first Southland Conference series of the season against McNeese State last weekend at Crutcher Scott Field.
Head coach Britt Bonneau felt this was huge for team as they have played tough teams to start the season.
“It was big for these guys we have been playing some tough baseball lately and things haven’t gone our way,” Bonneau said. “This weekend behind the arm of Thomas Altimont in the last game we came together and got us a series win.”
The Wildcats (5-15, 4-5) shut out the Cowboys (16-8, 6-3) twice over the weekend and lost a close second game during the series.
Friday’s game featured a 5-0 win for the ‘Cats over one of the Southland’s best. The pitching staff received a much-needed scoreless performance from junior pitcher Garrett deMeyere. deMeyere went 7.1 innings against the Cowboys, giving up no runs, striking out four batters and spreading out only seven hits. ACU’s bats would put together an impressive day with five runs on 10 hits.
Freshman infielder Jeff Clarke led the team going 3-for-3 at the plate with two runs and an RBI. Freshman shortstop Brayden Gomez went 2-for-4 from the plate with one run as well.
“I feel like it was big progress for our pitching staff but also for our confidence as a team,”deMeyere said.
Saturday’s game was a heartbreaker as the Wildcats’ comeback attempt came up short in a 5-4 loss. ACU took a 1-0 lead early in the game, but in the top of the fifth the ‘Cats gave up four runs. McNeese would add another in the sixth to make it 5-1. The ‘Cats then cut the deficit to just two after adding two more runs in the eighth. In the ninth the ‘Cats’ couldn’t quite come back, plating just one run to lose a close game.
Junior pitcher Aaron Mason put in five innings of work for the ‘Cats, allowing four earned runs. Freshman Drew Hanson added three more innings, giving one earned, while junior Nate Cole finished out the game with one inning of scoreless work, moving his ERA on the season to an impressive 1.08.
Sophomore infielder Aaron Draper led all the hitters on the day going 2-for-4 at the plate.
Sunday’s game turned out to the best one of the series for the ‘Cats with a 3-0 win. Senior pitcher Thomas Altimont picked up his first win of the season in an emphatic complete-game shutout of the Cowboys. Altimont allowed only five hits on the day, while striking out five batters and walking just one. He was selected on Monday as the Southland Conference’s Pitcher of the Week by Sports Information Directors all across the Southland Conference.
“I mean, when you have two pitchers that give you shutouts, that is a big weekend for us,” Bonneau said. “You’re talking about a team that led the league in batting average and to take two games is huge.”
Draper once again led the bats, going 2-for-4 at the plate with a run and an RBI.
The Wildcats return to the diamond Friday for a non-Southland series against Lamar University in Beaumont.