Softball concluded its regular season with a three-game sweep of conference rival Stephen F. Austin, as the Wildcats chopped down the Lumberjacks 13-0, 5-1, and 5-2.
Seventeen strikeouts and a 23-run offensive show propelled the Wildcats to victory in the series. The weekend sweep pushed the Wildcats record to 32-20 and 20-7 in Southland play, while the losses dropped SFA to 17-33 and 9-15 in conference. The wins also clinched a postseason appearance for the team.
“We got the call today,” said junior pitcher Hannah Null. ” We are for sure going to NIT but we will find out all the details on Wednesday,” she said.
The offensive display began after senior Alli Spivey was walked with the bases loaded and the first run of a short five-inning game was brought in. Shortly after senior Taylor Brown tripled to center and scored three runs pushing the lead to 4-0 after two innings. Sophomore Donelle Johnson doubled and scored junior Holly Neese and freshman Braegan Hamilton. Senior Kaleigh Singleton returned the favor and brought Johnson home with ACU up 7-0 after three. A five-run explosion in the fourth sparked by SFA walking in another run and the dominant Wildcat defense held off the Lumberjacks for the 13-0 shutout.
In the second game of the series, senior Casey May-Huff doubled to right center and scored herself after a Singleton single to right. Taking a 3-0 lead into the third inning, the Wildcats piled on two more runs and rode Hannah Null’s good arm to the 5-1 win.
“This is our first run for postseason, ” Spivey said. “We are setting history by being the first ACU Div.1 softball team to make it to a postseason tournament, “she said.
The third game was the closest of the series, despite ACU taking a 4-0 lead. In the second inning, the Lumberjacks put two on the board and gave the Wildcats a run for their money, but that was as close they would get. Freshman Sidney Holman picked up her 20th win of the season as the ACU defense held on for the 5-2 win. Her 20-win season was also good enough to earn her Southland Conference Freshman of the Year honors earlier this week.
Other stories of the weekend were the record-breaking performances of junior Peyton Hedrick and Taylor Brown. Hedrick set the new record at the 39 breaking Katie Bryan’s previous record of 38. And Brown passed Bryan to become ACU’s all-time hits leader with her 228th career hit on Friday night.
This was the Wildcats final regular season series, but they will take part in the National Invitational Tournament, with more details to come at the conclusion of the Southland Conference Tournament.