Tarleton State opens conference play with victory over Abilene Christian


STEPHENVILLE – Texan Baseball secured their first conference win of the 2024 season in Game 1 against the Wildcats.

Tarleton State (10-5, 1-0 WAC) took the first game of the series Friday against Abilene Christian (8-7, 0-1 WAC) with a 10-4 final. 

Piercen McElyea took the bump to start the Texans off, with 3.1 innings pitched, giving up two runs on five hits, a pair of walks and two strikeouts. Grant Garza (4-0) claimed the win for Tarleton State, pitching 2.2 innings, giving up no hits, no runs, two walks and two strikeouts. 

Austin Glaze (L, 2-1) was the starting pitcher for the Wildcats with 1.2 innings pitched, giving up four runs on four hits, four walks and one strikeout to take the loss for the visitors.

The Texans compiled 10 runs on nine hits, a pair of doubles with help from Trace Morrison and Ike Shirey, five stolen bases on behalf of Tyson Drake (2), Shirey (2) and Slade McCloud. 

ACU tallied four runs on seven hits with one double and one double play.

The visiting team was quick to the board, taking the first two runs of the evening. A single down the right field line saw the first Wildcat on base, followed by a walk and a double down the left field line to tally the first run on the board for ACU. A groundout brought in the second run of the inning for Abilene Christian with a 2-0 lead.

The bottom of the first and top of the second were scoreless, but a big second inning at the plate for Tarleton State added a bit of heat to the chilly evening. After a quick three up, three down inning, the Texans took the box and got to work. With one out on the board, Morrison singled to third base on a bunt to see the first runner on for the home team. Mason Crews walked, advancing Morrison into scoring position and a single to right field from Shirey brought in Morrison to put the Purple and White on the board. With Crews at third, Shirey stole second and a passed ball welcomed Crews home for the tying run at 2-2. Shirey remained at third as Drake walked, then stole second to put a pair of Texans in scoring position again. A groundout from Mason Hammonds allowed Shirey to tally the third run to take the lead for Tarleton State. Cris Enriquez singled to left field to bring Drake home for the final run of the inning for the Texans. Cole Miears singled up the middle to place Enriquez in scoring position and Brandon Howell joined the pair on base after taking a hit at the plate to load the bases, but a groundout ended the run for the Purple and White, leaving three runners on.

The bottom of the third saw two consecutive outs on the board for the home team. Shirey got things moving for Tarleton State with a double down the right field line. Shirey stole third and Drake walked, stealing second shortly after. Hammonds reached on an error from the Wildcats, bringing in Shirey and Drake for a 6-2 lead. 

The next two-and-a-half innings were scoreless. Howell walked and Hunter Smith reached on a fielding error to put two Texans on base. A double from Morrison sent Howell, giving the home team a five-run lead going into the seventh. 

In the bottom of the seventh inning, Shirey was first in the box and first on base with a walk. Drake singled up the middle to send Shirey to third. Hammonds walked to see the bases loaded yet again for the Purple and White. A single from Enriquez did some damage, bringing in three runs to bring the Texans to an eight-run lead at 10-2. 

After a scoreless eighth inning, the Wildcats tallied a pair of runs in the ninth but couldn’t quite finish the job. A single to right field got the ball rolling for the visitors. A walk, followed by two outs, saw another walk to load the bases for ACU. A third walk brought in the third run for the visiting team, followed by a balk to advance another Wildcat home. A two-run inning from Abilene Christian sealed the deal for Tarleton State to secure their first conference win of the season with a 10-4 win to tally their 10th victory of the season.

Game 2 will commence at 3 p.m. on Saturday at the Tarleton Baseball Complex. 

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