The Wildcats are in the midst of a seven-game losing streak, with most of it coming in hard-luck fashion. Things are looking better however, as the Wildcats begin a four-game home stand starting Tuesday night.
The Wildcats will bring in one of the top programs in the country and a team ACU is familiar with. The Dallas Baptist Patriots will take on ACU at Crutcher-Scott Field at 6:30 p.m.
The Wildcats fell in both games against the Patriots last season. ACU fought hard, but could not catch up to DBU in an 11-6 loss in Abilene, and then was routed 12-1 in game two a week later. ACU will face DBU again this season on May 17 in Dallas.
ACU stands at 9-14 and 2-7 in the Southland Conference. The Wildcats have dropped 10 of their last 11 games and have gone 2-9 on the road this season. After falling in a close 6-4 game against nationally ranked Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, the Wildcats were swept at home by McNeese State in a three-game series in which each game was decided by four runs or fewer.
The Wildcats last win came against Texas Permian Basin at the Crutch. In the 10-0 win, ACU scored in all but two innings and were led by the trio of Russell Crippen, Austin Call and Mark Pearson. Call got the ‘Cats off to a quick start with a bases loaded triple that made it 3-0 ACU after the first inning. Crippen singled and doubled in runs during the second and fourth innings, while Pearson finished 3-for-5 with an RBI.
ACU has been on the receiving end of heartbreaking losses over their latest stretch. While leading 3-2 heading into the eighth inning against McNeese State, the Wildcats looked poised for the win. The Cowboys rallied for the game tying run in the bottom of the eighth and then the game winner in the bottom of the ninth. The game before that, a complete game outing from senior Garrett deMeyere wasn’t enough, as ACU was blanked for just two hits in the 3-0 loss.
In the Wildcats’ series finale against Southeastern Louisiana, ACU led 7-3 with just three outs to go. The Lions shocked the Wildcats with six runs in the top of the ninth inning in Abilene to go on to win 9-7. Two days before that, the Wildcats led 3-0 before giving up multi-run back-to-back innings to make it 4-3 SELU. Neither team would score after the 4th inning, handing ACU another tough loss.
Nate Cole should get the start against DBU. Cole (1-2, 4.05 ERA) has not pitched since his start against TCU, in which he went 4.0 innings while giving up six runs on six hits and striking out four Horned Frogs. Zach Kornely has been solid out of the bullpen for ACU, posting a 5.00 ERA in 12 appearances with six hits, nine strikeouts and three walks in 9.0 innings of work this season. Senior closer Nick Palacios has registered five saves on the season in 14.0 innings while posting 14 strikeouts, nine hits and a 4.50 ERA.
Dallas Baptist owns a 15-8 record after coming off a 46-15 season last year. The Patriots have only played in five road games this season and have gone 3-2 in those matchups.
DBU is 2-3 in its last five games overall after splitting a two-game series with Baylor. The Patriots took game one, 5-3, but lost control of game two quickly with a final of 19-6. Right handed pitcher Dalton Higgins is the likely starter for DBU, as he’ll look to put his 2-2, 8.87 ERA to the test against ACU.
Junior first baseman Darick Hall leads the Patriots in several offensive categories, including hits (31), home runs (11) and RBIs (32) among others. As one of the hottest hitters in the country, Hall was recently selected as both the Missouri Valley Conference and Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week. For the week, Hall hit six home runs in the Patriots’ four games and posted a .556 batting average (10-for-18). Hall also totaled 10 RBIs, 28 total bases, scored seven runs, and compiled a 1.556 slugging percentage and a .579 on-base percentage.
ACU starting catcher Alex Copeland continues to lead the Wildcats in batting average at .333. Junior third baseman Aaron Draper leads the team in hits with 20 and junior outfielder Braxton Wilks has 11 RBIs to lead ACU.