STEPHENVILLE – Tarleton looked to be in good shape as they cruised to a 6-4 lead at the end of the fifth inning, but Abilene Christian brought home a run in the sixth and five in the seventh to come back and take the series opener, 11-7, at the Tarleton Baseball Complex on Friday evening.
Tarleton (13-32, 6-16 WAC) held the Wildcats (24-21, 12-10 WAC) scoreless for three straight innings, from the second to the fourth, but ACU got its offense going late in the game and the Texan bats were stymied by ACU reliever Sam Berberich.
Texan starting pitcher Bryce Hackett threw 5.0 innings, tying his career-high of seven strikeouts. He exited the game with the 6-4 lead in tow. Zane Badmaev (L, 0-2) came on in relief in the sixth and allowed a solo home run from Grayson Tatrow as the Wildcats trimmed the lead to 6-5.
Badmaev came back on for the seventh and allowed two runs. Matthew Hickey then entered the game and allowed three runs of his own on one hit and ACU led 10-6.
The teams traded runs in the ninth as ACU got a run in when Bash Randle was hit by a pitch to walk in a run. Tarleton plated theirs when Jake Escalon hit an RBI single up the middle to score Spencer Bloom and make it 11-7.
Tarleton was led on offense by Kemuel Thomas-Rivera as he finished the day with four RBI, a walk and two runs scored. He hit a three-run home run over the left field wall in the third inning to give Tarleton the 4-1 lead, his seventh long ball on the year. Thomas-Rivera also scored the Texans’ first run of the game in the second inning, coming home on a wild pitch to tie the game 1-1.
Alec Williams kept the good times rolling in the third when he hit an RBI double to the corner in right field to score Taylor Daniell, who doubled to left-center one at-bat prior.
ACU starting pitcher Tyler Morgan tossed 5.1 innings, throwing 100 pitches. He gave up six runs, just one earned, on five hits. He walked four and struck out three. Morgan made way for Berberich in the fifth and he shut the Texans out until he allowed the lone run in the ninth inning. He threw 3.2 innings striking out six and walking none.