After losing nine straight games falling to .500, the Wildcats roared to life Wednesday night with a 16-0 victory over Prairie View A&M.
ACU nearly broke its losing streak twice during the span. Once in a 7-6 defeat in extra innings against perennial powerhouse Sam Houston State last Friday and again on Tuesday when the Wildcats trailed the University of Texas at Arlington just 6-5 before the Mavericks piled on six runs in the top the eighth on their way to a 12-8 win.
“We’ve faced some really good teams lately, we have to get better starting pitching, to give us a chance to win games,” Head Coach Britt Bonneau said. “We’re continuing to try and find people that can be front end guys for us that can give us five or six innings.”
Against the Panthers that proved to be the difference, as junior Derek Scott went six strong inning, allowing just two hits and earning his first win of the year.
Scott also benefited from some early run support when the Wildcats took a 7-0 lead after just three frames. The scoring got rolling when junior transfer Robert Salazar doubled home sophomore transfer Caleb Kyle for a 1-0 advantage. Later freshman Zach Smith singled to right center to score fellow classmates Seth Watts and Colton Eager. Smith then came around to score on a single up the middle from junior transfer Zach Mousser.
Bonneau said strong pitching and early run supports gives the team’s bullpen a rest.
“When you do that you don’t have to go to your bullpen in the second inning,” Bonneau said. “And when you do that, you’re behind the eight ball already, you’re down five and it just kills the spirit.”
The Wildcats’ bats were silenced in the fifth inning, but came to life once again to scored runs each of the remaining innings. The scoring barrage was accented by Kyle’s two-run blast which scored junior transfer Matt Munoz. Kyle finished the day with three RBIs, which was just behind Smith’s game-high of four.
The win bumps ACU back above .500 at 14-13 and should provide a confidence boost heading into the weekend against McNeese State. The Cowboys boast a 7-5 conference record and are ranked fifth in the Southland Conference. At 2-10 in conference, ACU sits in a tie for last.