First place in the Lone Star Conference will be up for grabs this weekend when the ‘Cats travel to Stephenville to take on the Tarleton State University Texans.
The Wildcats will play a four-game series that could determine the regular season conference champion. The weekend match-up begins Friday at 3 p.m. and continues on Saturday with a 2 p.m. doubleheader. The finale is set for 1 p.m. Sunday.
“We know we’re going into some tough competition the next two weekends and facing some good arms,” said head coach Britt Bonneau. “It doesn’t get any easier, that’s for sure.”
Tarleton State has been almost unbeatable at home this year. They have lost only one game (11-1) at the Cecil Ballow Baseball Complex and are 25-13-1 overall (14-6 LSC). The Texans are currently 1.0 game ahead of ACU, who is now 25-16 after taking three of four from Cameron University this past weekend.
The team scored 12 runs in the Sunday finale versus Cameron.
“Getting the series win was huge,” said junior infielder Kyle Giusti. “Last couple of weeks we haven’t hit as well but the offense really came alive on Sunday.”
TSU split with defending LSC champion Angelo State University last week. The Rams are tied for third place with University of the Incarnate Word at 11-9. ASU will play at Cameron this week then travel to Crutcher Scott Field April 26-28.
“These are the teams you’re going to have to beat if you’re going to win a conference championship,” Bonneau said. “We’ve got to learn how to play at that level. We’ll find out what we’re made of.”
The ‘Cats and Texans have met one time this season and it resulted in a 15-5 seven-inning loss for ACU. The Wildcat pitching staff struggled to get anyone out that game. Five pitchers combined to allow 17 Tarleton hits.
Overall though, the starting rotation has been lights out in 2013. The team has a 4.21 ERA and is holding opponents to a .270 batting average. The staff has been anchored by senior transfer Carter Hahn who is 7-2 with a 2.65 ERA. He is leading the team with four complete games.
Aaron Lambrix has also been magnificent. He is 3-3 with a 2.95 ERA. Lambrix threw 6.2 innings last week in the third game against Cameron. He allowed just one earned run and struck out two Aggies.
“We’re going to continue to rely on him (Lambrix) and Hahn,” Bonneau said. “Both of those guys can raise their games when they have to.”
Tarleton has swept Arlington Baptist and Eastern New Mexico. They also took three of four games from Incarnate Word. They own the best defense in the league (.975), the fourth-highest team batting average (.308) and the third-lowest ERA (3.77).
ACU lost three of four to the Texans at home last year, but leads the all-time series 78-61.
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