The Wildcats will look to bounce back against SEC powerhouse Texas A&M Tuesday night in College Station after dropping two of three to Lamar over the weekend.
ACU enters the match up 19-19 overall after a midweek win over TCU last Tuesday kept the the Wildcats at .500 for the year. Meanwhile, the Aggies who began the season 16-2, are 13-9 over their last 22 games and are coming off a weekend where they lost two out of three to the University of Tennessee.
In their weekend series, the Wildcats competed for the majority of all three games despite coming away with just one win. In game one, the score was tied at zero, until the Cardinals racked up six runs on six hits in the fifth inning to take a 6-0 lead. ACU battled back, outscoring Lamar 5-1 over the final four innings, but eventually fell 7-5.
In the second game of the weekend, the Wildcats bats were abnormally silent, as they picked up just three hits in the 5-0 loss. Two of those hits came from junior right fielder Dalon Farkas, a single in the first and a double in the sixth.
Although the bats were unusually quiet in Saturday’s game, junior Jonathan Nicholson put together an impressive performance on the mound to keep the Wildcats close for the majority of the game. Nicholson went seven innings, allowing just three runs on four hits, but was still tagged with the loss, which bumped him to 2-5 on the year.
After solid hitting in game one and stellar pitching in game two, ACU was finally able to put the two together on Sunday.
The Wildcats scored first on a Farkas single, which scored JuCo transfer Matt Munoz. But Lamar tied it up in the bottom half of the inning on a Robin Adames home run, and took a 3-1 lead in the second inning on four straight singles.
Those three runs would mark the end of the day for last Tuesday night’s hero, junior Garrett Hutson, but senior Caleb Dougherty would provide six scoreless innings of relief to keep the Cardinal offense at bay.
Munoz cut the lead to 3-2 in the third with his third home run of the year, but neither team would score again until the ninth inning. Entering what was thought to be the final frame, trailing 3-2, Munoz was hit by a pitch to put the tying run on base with one out.
After a pop out by freshman Caleb Kyle, Farkas came through with a huge blast over the left field wall to give ACU a 4-3 lead. But Lamar did not go away quite yet, the Cardinals responded with one in the bottom half to send the game to extras tied at four.
Both team’s bats would again go quiet, thanks in large part to each team’s bullpen, but the Wildcats broke through in the top of 13th. A single by freshman Zach Smith, sandwiched between a strikeout and fly out, brought Munoz back to the plate with two outs. Munoz then delivered a double to left center to score Smith and give ACU the lead for good at 5-4.
Munoz said, the momentum for the team shifted with that ninth inning home run from Farkas.
“The biggest factor would of had to be just that we were relentless throughout the whole game, and when Dalon hit that home run in the 9th you could just tell we wanted to win the game more,” Munoz said.
JuCo transfer Brennan Lewis secured the victory for the Wildcats with a hit-less bottom half of the 13th, capping off his 3 2/3 innings of scoreless work in the game.
Heading into Tuesday’s game, Munoz said the team needs to translate its late game offensive production throughout the rest of the game.
“Something we need to change is just our mindset throughout the game, just having a mindset of being down in the 9th and fighting back,” Munoz said. “Because recently we have been doing a really good job of scoring runs in the 9th and if have that production throughout the game we should be fine.”
First pitch is set for 6:32 p.m. in College Station and the game can be seen on the SEC Network+ or listened to on 98.1 FM The Ticket.