Baseball is off to the hot start it needed, after a three-game sweep against the Quinnipiac Bobcats.
ACU won its games with strong pitching performances and stronger offensive performances. All six players who started every game for the Wildcats hit over .300 for the series and five of those six had at least five hits. All of ACU’s starting pitchers went at least six innings and none allowed more than three earned runs.
In Friday’s opener, ACU got off to an early lead with a run in the first and four in the second, and followed that up with a two-run fourth. All in all the Wildcats scored 10 runs in eight innings and headed into the ninth with a 10-4 lead. Quinnipiac did not make it easy on the Wildcats, however, as they put up five runs in the ninth, but the Wildcats held on for the 10-9 victory. Jonathan Nicholson got the win after six solid innings of work and Matt Munoz led the Wildcats offensively, coming up a double short of the cycle and clubbing in five RBIs.
Game two on Saturday saw much of the same from Wildcat pitching and hitting, as the Wildcats started hot again with a two-run first inning. Quinnipiac came back with more urgency this game, however, and answered back with two runs in the second. It was back and forth between an ACU lead and a tie ballgame until the seventh, when Dalton Dunn homered to left-center field. Senior pitcher Caleb Dougherty then came in and pitched three innings of scoreless relief to pick up the win, striking out six and only giving up three hits. Junior transfer Brock Barger started for the ‘Cats and picked up a no-decision with six innings of work, allowing four runs (three earned) and notching seven strikeouts. Dunn lead the charge offensively with three hits in four ABs, including that game-deciding home-run.
Game three was all pitching as senior Drew Hanson pitched his first collegiate career complete game- the Wildcat’s first since Garrett deMeyere in 2016- but the offense had their say as well as they racked up 11 runs, while having only three extra-base hits and walking nine times. Hanson allowed one run in the first, but that would be the only earned run he allowed, as the other run for the Bobcats came off of an error and a two-out double. All in all, Hanson threw nine innings allowing that one earned and one unearned run, all without walking a batter and striking out eight. Caleb Kyle, ACU’s new right fielder and batting average (tied) and hits (tied) leader after the series, went 3-for-5 with three singles, two runs and two RBIs.
After a strong showing against Quinnipiac, the Wildcats have their next test Tuesday as they face UTSA at 6:30 p.m. at Crutcher Scott Field. The game will mark the end of a season-opening four-game homestand.