Special to the E-T
Tarleton Sports Information
The Tarleton State baseball team (17-7, 12-6) dominated Abilene Christian (14-10, 7-8) in the first game of the doubleheader, 15-2, before the Wildcats turned the tide for an 18-6 win over the Texans in game two Saturday. The doubleheader completed a three-game series between the Lone Star Conference rivals. ACU also won Friday’s single game to take the series 2-1.
GAME 1 — Tarleton 15, ACU 2
Leftfielder Ethan Stuckly got the Texans on top early with a two-run blast to deep right-center, giving Tarleton a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first.
Shortstop Travis Hayes added another run just a few batters later on an RBI double to left, followed immediately by centerfielder Tim Rainey’s RBI single to right, making it 4-0 in the Texans favor. Tarleton managed to bat through the entire line-up in the first inning.
Meanwhile, Nathan Lewis was lights-out on the mound, giving up just a single hit through the first two innings.
Stuckly drove in his third RBI on a single to right, plating second baseman Landon McCall. Third baseman Junnior Dishmey kept the assault going with a two-run home run to dead center, pushing Tarleton’s lead to 7-0 in the second.
ACU threatened in the top of the third with just one out and runners on first and third, but a double-play converted by a diving Travis Hayes and a leaping Landon McCall got Tarleton out of the jam unscathed.
Hayes didn’t stop there, adding a solo home run in the bottom of the third to his already spectacular play in the field. That put the Texans up 8-0.
Tarleton exploded for five more runs and batted through its lineup again in the third. ACU also committed two errors, threw a wild pitch, and recorded a passed ball that didn’t help its cause.
Lewis continued to blank the Wildcats, holding them to just two hits and no runs through the first four innings.
Stuckly added insult to injury with his second home run and fifth and sixth RBI’s of the game in the bottom of the fourth inning, pushing the Texans’ lead to 15-0.
ACU got a consolation run in the top of the fifth with a solo shot to ruin the shutout, but the game was long gone for the Wildcats.
Stuckly led the way for Tarleton with a perfect 4-for-4 outing, six RBIs and four runs scored, while Hayes and Dishmey both had two RBIs. As a team, the Texans collected 15 hits, while allowing just five.
Lewis (3-1) was awarded the win, giving up just two runs on five hits while striking out nine.
Jason Harris (0-2) suffered the loss for ACU after allowing seven runs in just an inning.
GAME 2 — ACU 18, Tarleton 6
The Texans looked to carry over their momentum from the first game into the nightcap and jumped out to another early lead.
Mark Jeffery laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt with Stuckly on third base to give Tarleton a 1-0 edge in the first inning. The Texans threatened to score more with runners in scoring position, but the Wildcats got out of the inning without further damage.
ACU woke up in the top of the third with a two-out, three-run home run by designated hitter Will Calhoun that gave the Wildcats their first lead of the day, 3-1. They added a fourth run in the top of the fourth inning on a throwing error by Tarleton.
Chris Casazza answered with a solo blast to deep left to leadoff the bottom of the fourth, cutting the deficit to just two runs. It was Casazza’s eighth home run of the season.
Tarleton was poised to add more runs with the bases loaded and just one out in the same inning.
Stuckley got another big swing, driving a fly ball deep enough for Hayes to tag and score from third.
The bases were full again after Dishmey was issued a walk, Tarleton’s fourth free pass of the inning. Jeffery came up next and roped a clutch single just over the third baseman’s out-stretched arm, driving in two runs and giving the Texans a 5-4 lead.
Tarleton’s lead was short-lived, as ACU used a sacrifice bunt to plate the tying run in the top of the fifth.
The Wildcats took the lead for good in the top of the sixth after a couple of walks and hit by pitches loaded the bases before a pair of doubles put ACU up 9-5. They added another run in the inning to make it 10-5.
The Wildcats stretched their lead to seven with a two-run double in the seventh.
The Texans had a chance to cut down on the Wildcats’ lead in the bottom of the seventh with the bases loaded, but were unable to capitalize.
ACU put up three more runs in the top of the eighth, pushing the margin to 15-5.
Tarleton plated its final run when a Dishmey double pated McCall in the bottom of the eighth before ACU scored three more in the ninth.
Brandon Van Riper (2-2) was saddled with the loss, allowing seven runs in five innings.
Jeffery anchored the offense with a perfect 2-for-2 day with three RBIs, while Dishmey, Stuckly and Casazza drove in the other Tarleton runs.
Kris Carlson picked up the win for ACU.