Head coach Britt Bonneau has made it very clear that ACU baseball will face the best that the nation has to offer. While there may be some ugly losses, the goal is that it will prepare the team for excellence once conference season arrives.
The Wildcats suffered their first sweep of the season against the no. 22 Oklahoma State Cowboys with back-to-back losses in games two and three of the series. After dropping the series opener in Stillwater, 8-2, the Wildcats couldn’t hold the Cowboys offense, losing 16-0 and 8-4.
The Wildcats move to 8-7 and 2-5 on the road.
After holding opponents to under four runs in the previous seven games, ACU gave up at least twice that amount in every game against the Cowboys. Oklahoma State smashed 27 hits in games two and three while outscoring ACU 24-4.
Senior Garrett deMeyere was hit early and often in his fourth start of the season. deMeyere came into the game with just three runs given up in three outings. The Cowboys jumped all over ACU, scoring regularly and taking a 5-0 lead into the fifth inning.
The Cowboys broke things open in the bottom of the fifth, scoring four runs to make it 9-0. A throwing error from senior catcher Alex Copeland allowed a runner to score from third. Three of the next four batters would hit for RBI-doubles to knock deMeyere out of the game. He left with a line score of four runs on five hits in just 3.0 innings of work.
Oklahoma State would score seven more runs off the ACU bullpen with four in the sixth and a double with the bases loaded, bringing all three men home for the 16-0 decision.
The Wildcats looked to salvage the series and tried to hand the Cowboys just their second home loss of the season. After giving up a run in the first inning, ACU responded to tie things up in the second inning. Copeland came up to bat with two outs and junior second baseman Russell Crippen on second base. Copeland singled up the middle on a 1-1 pitch to score the runner for the RBI.
Senior Aaron Mason, who had been great for ACU out of the gate, gave up single scores in the third and fourth innings to make it 4-1. Mason allowed seven hits, three runs (one earned run), while striking out four in 4.0 innings. Mason moved to 3-1 with the loss.
The Cowboys scored in every inning from the third inning on, but ACU put together a rally in the top of the eighth inning, trailing 6-2. The Wildcats loaded the bases with no outs and the five, six and seven hitters up. Crippen hit a deep sac fly to straight-away center field that had it been pulled left, would have been a grand slam. Freshman first baseman David Ruot came up next and hit a sac fly driving in another run.
Senior closer Nick Palacios struggled in his 1.1 innings of work in relief. With the score at 6-4, the Cowboys answered ACU’s two-run to of the eighth inning with a two-run bottom of the eighth. Palacios gave up both runs on two hits and a walk.
The Wildcats are in perhaps its toughest stretch of the season. After their three-game series with Oklahoma State, the Wildcats will play a non-Div. I game against Texas-Permian Basin (7-13 in the Division II Heartland Conference) before hosting pre-season Southland Conference favorite Southeastern Louisiana (7-6) for three games March 18-20.