ABILENE – The ACU Wildcats and Lamar Cardinals will renew a long-dormant series this weekend when they meet in a three-game Southland Conference series at Crutcher Scott Field.
The Wildcats and Cardinals will play at 6 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday before finishing off the series at 1 p.m. Sunday. All three games can be heard live on 98.1 FM The Ticket, and can be viewed at www.acusports.com.
The Wildcats and Cardinals have met 15 times in their history with Lamar winning 10 of those games. ACU and Lamar, however, haven't met on the diamond since a three-game series, March 16-17, 1973, in Abilene. The Wildcats lost the first game of the series, 8-0, but bounced back to win the final two games of the series by the scores of 4-3 and 6-0.
ACU, in fact, won two of three games the previous season in Beaumont, meaning the Wildcats have won four of the last six meetings, although those games occurred more than 40 years ago.
The Cardinals come to Abilene with one of the hottest offensive players on the country hitting in the middle of their lineup. Fresh off of earning national honors from both Collegiate Baseball and NCAA.com, Sam Bumpers, will look to continue his hot conference form. Since a 4-for-6 showing in the opener, the Bourbonnais, Ill., native has been on fire and enters the weekend with a .548 average in league play. Last weekend, Bumpers went 7-for-7 with three homers in the first game and finished the series 12-for-16 with four homers and seven runs batted in.
Will Hibbs is set to make his eighth start of the year on Friday night, and he’s hoping to repeat the heroics of his last away start in league play, which was at Southeastern Louisiana to open the season. The Friendswood native pitched into the ninth inning, which was the longest of his career. He allowed just three runs in the outing, but was pegged with a no decision as the game went into extra innings. The 6-foot-7 right-hander is 2-1 on the year with a 2.92 earned run average over 40 innings of work.
Chase Angelle will get the start on Saturday. A native of Orange, the 6-foot southpaw saw his season-opening streak of six consecutive quality starts get snapped last week vs. McNeese. Despite his 1-4 record, Angelle has been solid on the mound with a 3.26 ERA over 47 innings. David Carver will start on Sunday. He’s 0-1 this year with a 4.35 ERA and six strikeouts over 10.1 frames.
ACU's offense – which leads the Southland in team batting average at .306 – is led by the top two hitters in the league in senior catcher Seth Spivey and freshman third baseman Brandon Grudzielanek. Spivey is hitting .404; (38 for 94) and ranks among league leaders in runs scored (third with 29), doubles (fifth with nine) and total bases (first with 60). Grudzielanek is hitting .390 (32 for 82) and leads the Wildcats with 21 RBI. Amazingly, all 32 of Grudzielanek's hits have been singles.
Sophomore transfer Joe Gawrieh (0-0, 3.00 ERA) will make his second start in Friday's series opener, and he'll be followed by freshman left-hander Mack Morgan (1-0, 0.00 ERA) on Saturday and sophomore transfer Garrett Demeyere (3-2, 2.47 ERA) on Sunday. Demeyere is 12th in the Southland in ERA and ranks in the league's top 10 in innings pitched (47 1/3).
Following this weekend's series, ACU will be back on the road Tuesday evening at Dan Law Field to take on Texas Tech. The Red Raiders knocked off ACU, 6-2, on March 11 in Lubbock in a game that was stopped after the top of the seventh after a severe wind / dust storm blew into the city.