The Wildcats’ baseball program has been the definition of a program that is in search of an identity. After claiming what has been the biggest win of the season against Dallas Baptist, ACU dropped three-straight against the red-hot Lamar Cardinals over the weekend.
With the exception of game two, in which the Wildcats were blown out by 10 runs, the series was relatively close. ACU fell in the opener, 8-5, was outplayed in every aspect in game two, 16-6, and despite a valiant comeback attempt, couldn’t get it done it game three, 7-5.
ACU moves to 10-17 overall and drop to 2-7 in the Southland. The Cardinals move to second place in the conference with a 7-2 record and have now won 10 straight.
Senior Garrett deMeyere was roughed up in his worst start of the season thus far. The Cardinals scored in four of the first five innings of the game, making it an early 8-1 Lamar lead. A five-run fifth inning broke the score open, thanks to a two-run home run and a bases loaded triple.
After a solo shot from Russell Crippen in the fourth inning that got ACU on the scoreboard, the Wildcats got three more in the fifth inning on a bases loaded walk. Two more runs would come across for ACU, making it 8-4. Austin Call drove in a run with an RBI-single in the bottom of the ninth, but that’s as close as ACU would get.
Game two would quickly turn ugly for the ACU faithful in attendance. The Wildcats led 3-0 at the end of the third inning, before the dam would break on the Cardinals offense. Lamar scored 10 runs on nine hits as 12 Cardinals came around to bat in the top of the fourth inning. Senior Aaron Mason was pulled after just 3.0 innings of work, while giving up six hits and six earned runs.
The Cardinals got five runs from back-to-back at bats with a two-run double to the right field-center field gap, followed by a three-run home run that made it 6-3 Lamar. The Wildcats gave up five more runs before the inning was all said and done. Crippen scored a run with an RBI double to right field and later scored himself on a wild pitch. Lamar continued its hitting parade, adding runs in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings. As a team, the Cardinals scored 16 runs on 22 hits, compared to ACU’s six runs on 12 hits.
Lamar took a 7-1 lead into the bottom of the ninth of game three, but ACU would make them sweat down the stretch. The Wildcats scored four runs with their final three outs of the series, but it came up just short in a 7-5 decision. Senior Heath Beasley got the rally going with an RBI-single that scored senior Alex Copeland after an error by the shortstop allowed Copeland to come all the way around to home plate. The Wildcats scored three more runs on a ground out, an error and a single to center field.
After the weekend, Copeland continues to lead ACU with a .315 batting average along with five doubles and six runs batted in. Crippen is next on the team with a .312 average and a team-high 26 hits and six doubles. Junior Braxton Wilks leads the Wildcats with 15 RBIs and a .253 average.
deMeyere, Mason and Drew Hanson all were tagged with losses over the series. deMeyere registered a 5.0 inning, seven-hit and eight-run outing, moving to 2-4 on the season with a 4.39 ERA. Mason moves to 3-2 with a 3.82 ERA, while Hanson, in his first start since Feb. 28, allowed five hits and five runs, one earned, in a brief 3.1 innings of work.
The Wildcats finish out their seven-game homestand with three more against Houston Baptist on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.