Wildcat baseball won its first-ever matchup versus a ranked opponent in Division I NCAA baseball, defeating the no.12 TCU Horned Frogs on the road at Lupton Stadium.
Entering Tuesday, the Wildcats had been in a slump in a week where they went 1-3 versus Tarleton and TCU at home. This included a 14-3 run-rule loss to a then no.19 Horned Frogs on March 22 at Crutcher Scott Field.
Since that matchup, TCU went on a tear sweeping their series at home versus Kansas State to remain 9-0 at home on the season. While back in Abilene, the Wildcats struggled with Western Athletic Conference rival Tarleton dropping the series 1-2 despite an 18-2 run-rule win in the final game of the series.
In what looked to be a bullpen game similar to March 22, the Wildcats sent out graduate right-handed pitcher Garrett Egli to the mound for his first career start versus the now no.12 Horned Frogs. Instead of a usual bullpen outing, ACU was blessed with a four-inning two-run effort from the righty.
The Wildcat offense utilized this great start to work up to four runs in the top of the fourth. This is partly due to a right-field two-run homerun from graduate outfielder Colton Eager.
Eager, who looked to have perfected the longball last season, had fallen into a home run slump but has now gone yard twice in his previous three games. However, it should be noted that this isn’t a fall into a lack of production, with the lefty still slugging .617 through 95 at-bats this season.
While the offense found its groove, head coach Rick McCarty turned the ball over to junior left-handed pitcher Conner Carlton. This move turned out to be effective, with the lefty hurling three one-hit innings.
With the Wildcats adding more security in the sixth on two doubles for a 6-2 lead, coach McCarty gave the rock in the eighth to his closer, senior right-handed pitcher Tanner Riley, who was coming off a tough weekend versus Tarleton.
Despite this, the righty was solid; his pitches worked the strike zone the way they needed to. Riley would strike out five batters, including the final batter, for the ACU victory.
“I didn’t second that one at all, McCarty said. “We got down within six outs, and we knew we were going to hand him the ball and win or lose, we’re gonna feel good about it.”
This win signaled the first home loss of the season for the Horned Frogs and the first top 25 win for the Wildcats in Division I. This was just the second time the Wildcats defeated the Horned Frogs, the first time since 2018.
McCarty says that despite the big win playing the game simple always gets the job done.
“We talk all the time; baseball’s a game of strikes and who can do simple better,” McCarty said. “I thought we did simple really well last night.”
The Wildcat’s next ranked opponent is Texas Tech in Lubbock on April 26. For now, the Wildcat’s next matchup will be this weekend versus their WAC rival Lamar Cardinals in Beaumont.