ABILENE -- The ACU Wildcats needed to get back on the winning track just before the start of Southland Conference play this weekend, and the Texas College Steers proved to be just the right opponent to help the Wildcats feel good about themselves.
ACU dismantled the Steers on a brisk, clear evening at Crutcher Scott Field, winning the first game 10-0 in a run-rule-shortened game, and then taking the second game by the score of 6-1. The two wins snapped a two-game losing streak for the Wildcats, who improve to 10-12 on the season, while the Steers fall to 13-21.
The Wildcats will host their first Southland Conference series since the 1973 season this weekend when they open conference play against Incarnate Word. The Wildcats and Cardinals will play at 6 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday before wrapping up the series Sunday at 1 p.m.
Here's a recap of each game of Tuesday's doubleheader sweep:
Game 1 (ACU 10, Texas College 0 / 7 innings) -- The Wildcats wasted little time putting this one in the win column with six runs in the first inning.Then they settled in behind the solid pitching efforts of Austin Lambright and Ladgie Zotyka to cruise home with the win.
The Wildcats batted around in the first inning, putting together six runs on six hits and two Texas College errors. Brandon Grudzielanek had a two-run single, while Gunnar Buhner had an RBI double and Russell Crippen an RBI infield single.
ACU got two more runs in the fifth and two more in the sixth to go up 10-0. Kyle Giusti -- who entered the game 19 for 41 in the last 10 games -- continued his offensive tear with an RBI single in the fifth, and Buhner added another RBI base hit in the inning. ACU scored two runs in the sixth with one coming in on an RBI single by Grudzielanek.
Lambright picked up his first collegiate victory, working five innings and giving up just two hits and two walks while striking out three batters. Zotyka pitched two innings of one-hit relief to finish off the game, which was scheduled for nine innings.
The Wildcats ended the game in the top of the seventh with one of the rarest of baseball plays: a triple play. With no one out and runners on first and second, Julia Coffin-Lennear flew out to Emil Litterer in left field, who fired it back in to Buhner at second to double off Nick Escobar. Buhner completed the triple play when he threw to Crippen at first to retire Shane Uhle for the third out of the triple play.
Game 2 (ACU 6, Texas College 1) -- The Wildcats jumped out early again, scoring twice in the first against Texas College starting pitcher Gene Swartzenberg and twice more in the third off Houston Creighton.
Seth Spivey drove in a run with a single in the first, and Giusti added another RBI single in the frame before he was forced to leave the game in the top of the second with what appeared to be a groin injury. His status for this weekend's series against Incarnate Word is unknown.
In the third, Crippen drove in Spivey with a sacrifice fly, and Grudzielanek scored on an RBI groundout by Connor Messman. ACU tacked on two more runs in the fourth inning on a two-run single by Grudzielanek, who finished the day 4 for 6 with 5 RBI and one run scored.
Joe Gawrieh got the start on the mound and gave up four hits in three innings before giving way to Scott Kinzler, who picked up his first collegiate win by throwing 2 1/3 innings and allowing just two hits and two walks. Brandon Lambright finished up with 1 2/3 innings of hitless relief.