The Wildcats wrapped up their four-game series with the Northeastern Huskies Sunday afternoon at Crutcher-Scott Field. After dropping the opener, 3-2, ACU came back to take both games of the Saturday double-header. The Wildcats fell in the finale, 4-3, to move them to 6-3 through the team’s first nine games of the year.
“I thought both pitching staffs played exceptional throughout the series,” head coach Britt Bonneau said. “To have four one-run games and to come out on top in two of those shows a lot about us and I thought we had a really good weekend against a really good team.”
ACU got a great pitching outing from senior right-hander Garrett deMeyere (2-0, 0.64 ERA). The Benbrook native went 8.0 innings and gave up three hits while striking out three Huskies on an efficient 84 pitches. deMeyere was perfect through the first four innings before giving up a leadoff hit in the top of the fifth. With the game still scoreless in the top of the sixth inning, deMeyere got Northeastern to fly out to right field with two-outs and a runner at third to keep the ball game tied.
The Wildcat’s offense, which had been dormant for almost all of the game, came to life in the eighth inning. Junior Austin Call got the inning started with a leadoff single to center field on a 1-0 pitch. Freshman short stop Mark Pearson would bunt the runner over to second base to put ACU in scoring position with one out. The Wildcats moved the runner to third base and with two outs, center fielder Hunter Markwardt gave ACU the lead with a single to left field.
Senior reliever Nick Palacios closed things out for ACU with a one-two-three ninth inning.
“We learned a lot about our team this weekend,” Bonneau said. “Our bullpen has been great so far, and our starting pitching has given us usually five to six innings of solid ball to get us to that bullpen. So we’re happy with that.”
In game two, the Wildcats scored three runs in the sixth inning and another in the seventh to take down the Huskies, 4-3. Trailing 2-0, the Wildcats put runners on the corners with one out. Two costly errors and a wild pitch by Northeastern would result in three runs for ACU. Junior left fielder Braxton Wilks reached first after the Huskies pitcher sailed the throw to first base, allowing both Markwardt and freshman right fielder Willie Harris to tie the game.
Wilks, who made it to second base on the errant throw, reached third base in the next ACU at-bat on an error by the third baseman. With two-outs, the Wildcats got a bit of good luck as the pitcher threw a wild pitch that brought Wilks home and gave ACU the lead. Junior third baseman Aaron Draper’s RBI-double in the seventh inning drove in Pearson to move the Wildcats ahead 4-2. The Huskies would tack on a home run in the bottom of the eighth, but that’s as close as they would get.
Senior Aaron Mason (2-0, 1.50 ERA) earned the win with 6.0 solid innings of work. He gave up two earned runs on five hits, three walks and five strikeouts. Palacios got the save in the top of the ninth inning for his third of the year.
Game four ended in a 4-3 decision, but with ACU on the short end. Sophomore Drew Hanson (1-1, 4.50 ERA) was rocked for four earned runs on eight hits in just 4.0 innings in a losing outing. The bullpen was solid for the remainder of the way, not allowing a hit or a walk in the final five innings of the game.
The ACU offense however couldn’t solve the Huskies pitching staff, as three Northeastern relievers combined for 4.0 innings while giving up one run on one hit. The Wildcats got off to a 2-0 lead in the first inning, but a four-run fourth inning put the Huskies up for good to even the series at two games a piece.