Texan Baseball takes down 2-seed ACU in Semifinals to earn championship berth in 1st ever WAC Tournament appearance


MESA, Ariz. – Tarleton State Baseball destroyed the Wildcats in a seven-inning semifinal game to send Abilene Christian into the loser’s bracket and secure a spot in the 2024 WAC Tournament Championship in an effort to secure Tarleton State Baseball’s first ever Division I conference title.

The 5-seed Tarleton State (31-28, 17-13 WAC) remains perfect in the postseason at 4-0 after a 11-1 final in seven innings to fend off the 2-seed Abilene Christian (34-24, 18-12 WAC).

A massive seven-run inning in the fifth paved the way for the Texans to hit the double-digit mark midway through the game. This is the sixth time in the 2024 season the Texans have put up seven runs in a single inning. Tarleton’s 2024 appearance in the WAC Tournament solidifies the most wins in the postseason since 2014 during the D2 era with four wins, three in the LSC Tournament and one in the NCAA Regional Tournament. The Purple and White remain the only undefeated team in the tournament. The Texans have taken down the eighth, fourth, first and second seeds in tournament play. 

In the regular season, Tarleton State went 1-2 against three of their four tournament opponents. 

Jake Burcham (W, 2-4) secured his second win of the season after 4.0 innings pitched, giving up a single run on four hits, one walk and three strikeouts. 

Iain Campa (L, 7-4) started for the Wildcats and took the loss after 4.1 innings on the mound, giving up seven runs on six hits, three walks and three strikeouts. 

Tarleton State compiled 11 runs on 10 hits with a double from Cole Miears to lead the pack. The Texans totaled four stolen bases with two from Kooper Shook and one apiece from Mason Hammonds and Ike Shirey. 

ACU finished the afternoon meeting with one run on six hits. Aaron Staehely carried the offensive efforts with a solo home run and a double. The Wildcats left a total of nine runners stranded. 

The Texans tallied two in the bottom of the first inning. Hammonds singled as the leadoff and Trace Morrison singled on a bunt to add another on for the home team. A groundout from Miears followed to advance the runners and a second groundout from Cris Enriquez scored  Hammonds to put the Purple and White up early. Hunter Smith singled to send Morrison across and totaled two for Tarleton State.

In the bottom of the second, the Texans got back to work as a single from Shook started off the inning. Shook stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error after an attempt to be caught stealing. Shirey grounded out to score Shook and extend the lead to 3-0 for Tarleton State.

The top of the two saw a couple of outs recorded as a solo home run to right field put the Wildcats on the board with their first and final run of the game. 

In the bottom of the fifth the Texan offense completely overtook the Wildcats with seven runs. Crews singled as the leadoff and Hammonds reached on a fielder’s choice and a passed ball advanced Hammonds. Morrison walked and Miears singled to center to score Hammonds to regain a three-run lead over the Wildcats. Enriquez walked to load the base path and Smith and Jordan Andrade were each hit by a pitch for a free pair of runs to bring the lead to 6-1. Shook and Shirey kept the inning alive with singles, scoring Enriquez and Smith. Shook stole third and with two outs recorded, Hammonds cranked out another single to score Shook. Hammonds and Shirey each stole a bag to advance the couple into scoring position but the final out came next, leaving the pair on. A seven RBI inning brought the total to 10-1 in favor of Tarleton State.

The Texans’ half of the sixth saw the last run needed for Tarleton State to open up run-rule territory with one at bat left for ACU to close things out. A leadoff double from Miears got the ball rolling for the Purple and White and a wild pitch advanced him to third. A fly out from Enriquez welcomed Miears home to put the Texans up by 10. 

A scoreless top of the seventh closed the door on the Wildcats, handing the guys from Abilene their first postseason loss to send them to the loser’s bracket.

Tarleton State has advanced to the WAC Championship and will face the winner of the ACU and CBU matchup. Championship Saturday will see a 5 p.m. CT start. With a perfect 4-0 record, a win in the first game will crown the Texans the champions of the 2024 WAC Tournament. A loss for the Purple and White would require a second game, as Tarleton State need to total two losses to be eliminated. If necessary, the second game would commence at 9 p.m. CT and would result in a winner-takes-all game.

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