ACU Baseball released what may be its toughest schedule in school history, as they prepare to play 56 games against 21 opponents who finished a combined 163 games over .500 last season.
Of the 21 opponents on ACU’s schedule, 14 teams won at least 30 games and four won at least 40: fellow Southland Conference teams Sam Houston State(42), Southeastersn Louisiana(40), and TCU and Texas A&M each won 49.
Head coach Britt Bonneau says that this is all in preparation for the 2018 season, when ACU Athletics becomes eligible for postseason play as a D-1 school.
“We’re really looking forward to 2018 in this situation,” Bonneau said. “We’ve been putting the team in tough situations all summer, and we’re going to continue to put the team in tough situations to prepare for playoffs next year.”
Along with playing teams that have won many games, the Wildcats are also playing teams from the Big-10 and the Big East for the first time in school history, with Michigan State coming to Abilene for a four-game series in February and Creighton coming to Abilene in March for a three-game set.
Senior infielder Aaron Draper said Bonneau has been working them out all summer for this season.
“It’s business as usual, to an extent, but every year you hope to make an improvement,” Draper said. “That being said, it’s a little different this year, because our goal is always to get better every day, but now we want to get better to beat some of those tough teams.”
Braxton Wilkins, a Junior College transfer that picked up the starting left field role last year, said the team is more excited than nervous to play these teams.
“I don’t know if we’ve ever played Pac-10, Big-10 and Big-12 teams in the same year,” Wilkins said. “It’s kind of surreal, to be honest. But coach has been preparing us a lot this offseason, we’re playing a bunch of games together rather than just doing drills, to better prepare ourselves.”
In fact, since the summer, ACU Baseball has played 27 inter-squad games. With this new philosophy, as well as preparing for the transition next season, fans will have to anxiously wait and see what happens this season.