The Wildcat softball team is no stranger to tough preseason competition and played yet another rigid tournament schedule, but came away with a 3-2 record over the weekend.
The tournament began with the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and the Wildcats won the back-and-forth battle by driving in five runs in the fourth and fifth innings. The Roos opened up the scoring with a Kelsey Goodwin fly out for a 1-0 lead, but ACU piled on two runs in the second inning. UMKC responded with two scores of their own to close the inning, but a three-run fifth inning propelled the Wildcats to a 7-6 win.
Game two saw an 8-0 rout of Jacksonville State led by senior Brianna Barnhill. Barnhill hit a three-run homerun that gave ACU the 5-0 lead in the third and two base hits by freshman Briana Tijerina and sophomore Braegan Hamilton sealed the win. Hannah Null picked up her third win of the season, surrendering only two hits and striking out eight batters in the shutout.
An extra innings shootout saw a 10-9 win in favor of the Wildcats over Monmouth. Monmouth got out to a 9-0 lead, but senior Alyson Bishoff hit a sacrifice fly that opened the scoring for the ‘Cats. Hawks Pitcher Lilly Robles beaned two batters in the fifth that surrendered two more runs and two homers by Barnhill and Katelyn Belch brought the score to 9-7. The Wildcats added two runs in the seventh to force extra and finished with a sac fly in the eighth to take the win.
Former Wildcat player and now volunteer assistant coach, Casey-May Huff was pleased with the outcome.
“We ended up getting down pretty early in the game, but once we got to the fifth inning our bats started to show up,” Huff said. “Each girl in the lineup passed her bat and did her job. We were able to stay composed and execute at the plate one pitch at a time.”
After the 3-0 start solid defense by George Mason and Georgia Southern stopped the Wildcats in their tracks, the final two outings resulted in 5-3 and 6-2 losses.
“We took the momentum from the win in game one directly into game two,” senior Holly Neese said. “We made great strides as a team from San Antonio to Florida, but we still had two losses on the weekend which means that there is still room for improvement.”
ACU was originally scheduled to Waco for the Baylor Invitational starting Friday, but the tournament has been canceled and the Bears will head to Abilene for a double-header with the Wildcats on Sunday.