The Wildcats (7-2) took their second series of the year with a 3-1 series win over Southeast Missouri State (2-6) this past weekend.
The Wildcats, coming off of a walk-off win against the Oklahoma Sooners on Wednesday, looked to keep the momentum rolling while taking on the Redbirds, a team who won the Ohio Valley Conference last season.
Due to low weather temperatures on Friday, the game that was to take place on Friday evening was moved to Sunday. This meant back-to-back doubleheaders on the weekend slate.
In game one, junior right-handed pitcher Tyler Morgan would dominate in his second start of the season. Morgan would give up a single to the lead-off batter, and would then proceed to get out the next 19 batters not allowing another hit the remainder of the game.
“Tyler was good, and you do not really appreciate it in the first game until you see how good their offense is throughout,” head coach Rick McCarty said. “He was phenomenal. He competes like no other and that’s why he starts the first game for us on a weekend. His development has been great and he’s an elite competitor. He’s gonna give us a chance to win more times than not.
The Wildcats would get on the board in the fourth thanks to a sacrifice fly by junior outfielder Miller Ladusau, a single by junior infielder Garrett Williams, and an error by the Redbirds.
ACU would win 3-0 in a seven-inning game.
Game two would not be as favorable for the Wildcats. SEMO would score 11 runs in the first inning for a total of 22 through the first four innings of play. The only ACU runs would come from a Ladusau single in the fourth and junior outfielder Eric Martin’s first career home run.
The Redbirds would win 23-2 evening the weekend series at one game apiece.
In an early start time for game three on Sunday, SEMO would get out to an early 3-0 lead after back-to-back home runs. Junior right-hander Drake Boggan would be called in for the Wildcats and throw five scoreless innings which allowed ACU to climb back in the game.
In the fifth, junior infielder Bash Randle would launch a home run into right and after a costly balk from SEMO, ACU would be down 3-2 heading into the sixth.
After another home run, this time from senior outfielder Grayson Tatrow, the teams would head into the final inning of play tied at three. However, that score would not last long as the Redbirds would respond with a homerun of their own putting them up 4-3 as ACU came down to its final three outs.
After two singles and a stolen base, The Wildcats would have the winning run on second with two outs. An intentional walk would send freshman catcher Maddox Miesse to the plate with the bases now loaded. The freshman who walked it off against Oklahoma earlier in the week would have another chance to win it for the Wildcats in dramatic fashion.
It would take only one pitch for Miesse to clear the bases on a walk-off grand slam and give ACU the 7-4 victory in seven innings.
“Maddox is very mature and very competitive,” McCarty said. “We knew he was going to impact our club this year. Traditionally you try to limit the amount of stuff that you put on a first-year player. But he has handled it and welcomed it and obviously performed at a very high level. He’s got a couple of remarkable moments already in his first week of his ACU career, so hopefully that will continue to build.”
ACU would now look to take the series in their second game of the day as junior right-hander Austin Glaze would take the mound.
After only one hit from each team through three innings, SEMO would finally get something going in the fourth after two RBI singles that would put the Redbirds up 2-0, forcing junior left-hander Max Huffling to come in for the Wildcats. The Wildcats would sneak out a run in the fifth, but the Redbirds would respond in the sixth with two more runs of their own.
In the bottom of the seventh with the Wildcats down 4-1 and the bases loaded, junior outfielder Logan Britt would ground into a fielder’s choice, scoring one run. With two outs, senior catcher Tanner Tweedt would knock in a single to score two runs and tie up the game now heading into the eighth.
After some smart defensive plays by the Wildcats in the top of the eighth, Williams would drive in the go-ahead run on his second RBI, and give ACU their first lead of the game. Huffling would close out the game in the ninth grabbing the win and giving the Wildcats their second series win of the season.
“Nine games in the first 10 days of a year is a lot,” McCarty said. “It was daunting, but I think our guys handled it really well. Super proud of the way they fought and competed all week. We’ve had a lot of close one, two, three pitch ballgames and I think we’ve absolutely been battle-tested.”
The Wildcats are back in action at Crutcher Scott Field this weekend with a four-game series against Houston Christian. The games will be at 6:05 p.m. Friday, 1:05 and 4:05 p.m. Saturday and 1:05 p.m. Sunday. Friday and Saturday’s games will be streamed on ESPN+ while Sunday’s will stream on WAC International.
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