The Wildcat softball team took two of three over Sam Houston State in the final homestand of the season, as the program celebrated its seniors one final time.
In the first game of the series the Bearkats stole a 3-1 win, as ACU struggled to get its offense going. A double by senior Alyson Bishoff scored the lone run for ACU, but dominant pitching from Lindsey McLeod only gave up four hits as the Bearkats took the opener.
But the Wildcats’ bats came alive early in the second game, jumping out to a 4-0 lead. Bearkats’ shortstop Tiffany Thompson helped SHSU back in the game, opening up a three-run third inning by singling, stealing second and scoring on a Wildcat error.
However, ACU would add four unanswered runs to extend the lead to 8-3, headlined by senior shortstop Peyton Hedrick’s solo shot and senior Holly Neese’s single that plated two Wildcats. The Bearkats battled back with three runs in the top of the seventh on a double and a two-run home run, but Calie Burris slammed the door shut to preserve the 8-6 win.
“It was important that we took the series from Sam [Houston],” Hedrick said. “We now are sitting better for the tournament, and giving us a higher chance and more breathing room to be sure we make it to the tournament. We definitely are hitting our stride now, and I don’t think it could come at a better time.”
In the rubber match of the series on Saturday, Hannah Null got her 16th win in a quiet 2-1 ACU win. Null struck out five and only gave up one run, but the Wildcats were held scoreless for much of the game.
In the sixth inning though, and on a day that recognized seniors for their past accomplishments and contributions to the program, senior Brianna Barnhill delivered another contribution with a two-run rocket to give the Wildcats the 2-1 lead.
“These past couple of series and mid week games have kind of been a turning point for us. We feel like we are gaining some momentum that will push us through these next two series and hopefully to the end of the conference tournament,” Barnhill said. “I feel like everything is clicking a little bit better than the beginning of the season.”
The Barnhill’s home run proved to be the game winner after Null secured the victory despite giving up a leadoff double.
“Hannah has done a great job in the circle for us and hitting as a whole is starting to come around, but overall I feel like hitting is getting more consistent,” Barnhill said.
The series win improves ACU’s record to 20-21 and moves them into a tie for fifth place with Central Arkansas at 12-9 in conference.
“We have finally pulled together all three parts of the game again, and we are working well as a team,” Hedrick said. “There are still a few adjustments to be made, but we are continuing to work our way up, and we are hoping that the best of all three comes out for the tournament.”