Wildcats defeat Dallas Christian 11-0

March 7th, 2018 - ABILENE – Abilene Christian's pitching staff took a no-hitter into the ninth inning Wednesday night at Crutcher Scott Field, but instead settled for an 11-0 shutout victory over Dallas Christian College after the first two Crusader batters started the final frame with consecutive singles.

The Wildcats (10-1) were three outs away from registering the first recorded multi-pitcher no-hitter in program history – and first since 2000 – but their shot at the history books was denied when catcher Zack Ebarb dropped a 1-2 pitch from Jonathan Nicholson into right field. The next batter JT Berry then singled deep into left side pocket. ACU shortstop Robert Salazar came close to making an incredible play while throwing off balance, but Berry beat the throw which came into first baseman Riley Donahue on one hop.

With runners at first and second, Nicholson got LaMarcus O'Neal to fly out to right fielder Caleb Kyle and ended the game with beautifully turned 6-4-3 double play, which was ACU's second of the game. The Wildcats spun their first twin killing in the sixth after a leadoff walk to Gabe Benza halted ACU's attempt at a perfect game.

Starter Garrett Hutson (2-0) faced the minimum nine batters with five strikeouts over the first three innings. He also induced three ground ball outs before giving way to David Ruot in the fourth. Ruot gave the Wildcats a 1-2-3 inning, and Brennan Lewis did the same in the fifth.

Briley Buckley walked Benza in the sixth before getting the double play ball and making a fine play defensively at first base for the final out. Dallas Christian then sent a game-high four batters to the plate in the ninth as Adriel Davila worked a five-pitch walk off Ryan Knowles. Earlier that inning center fielder Matt Muñoz made a sensational diving catch in the left-center gap to preserve the no-hitter, and in the eighth, Knowles got three quick outs with a strikeout and two fly balls to right field.

ACU scored its first four runs with two outs in the first. Designated hitter Dalon Farkas doubled to get the Wildcats' offense rolling as he came home on Colton Eager's RBI single. DCC starter Andrew Torres then walked the next three batters to make it a 2-0 game and Seth Watts singled home Salazar for the third run, while the fourth came in on a passed ball.

The Wildcats again sent nine men to the plate during a three-run sixth and four-run seventh. Salazar and Dalton Dunn each had RBI hits in the sixth, and Donahue scored on a fielding error by the third baseman. 

Three more Crusader miscues were made in the seventh. Colin Chaney advanced a base on a passed ball and scored on Salazar's single through the left side. Then Donahue reached on a first baseman error, scoring two batters later on Seth Watts' high chopper, while Dunn came home on a balk.

The Wildcats collected a dozen hits overall with Watts going 3-for-4 with three RBI, and Salazar producing a 2-for-4 night at the plate with three runs and two RBI. Dunn also drove in two runs. 

ACU's pitchers combined for eight strikeouts in recording the team's first shutout since April 26 of last year when Derek Scott and Ryan Kotulek combined to blank Baker, 7-0. Last year's staff also shut out Lamar, 9-0 (Keaton Brewer and Jonah Smith) and Incarnate Word, 5-0 (Drew Hanson).

The Wildcats return to action Friday at Incarnate Word for the start of Southland Conference play. Game times are Friday at 6:30 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.

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