ABILENE – Abilene Christian baseball completed its sweep of Arkansas-Pine Bluff Sunday in grand fashion as senior starter Jonathan Nicholson struck out a career high nine batters through 6.0 innings and junior third baseman Ryne Randle led a 19-hit attack by going 5-for-6 with a grand slam, four runs and seven RBI in the Wildcats’ 16-7 win at Crutcher Scott Field.
The Wildcats are now 4-3 heading into this week’s full slate of games vs. UT Arlington (Tuesday, 6:30 p.m.), Eastern Michigan (Wednesday, 6:30 p.m.) and Hartford (Friday to Sunday), while the Golden Lions fell to 1-6.
Randle’s seven RBI represent a new D1 era single-game record for the Wildcats and are the most by any ACU player since Riley Donahue drove in five runs vs. Mississippi Valley State on May 8, 2018. A native of Garland, Texas, Randle led off the Wildcats’ first inning with a fly ball to right field, but went on to rip four straight singles from the second to sixth innings before crushing a grand slam home run way over the wall in right field as part of a six-run seventh.
Right fielder Dalon Farkas (3-5, run, two doubles, two RBI), Luis Trevino (2-4, two RBI), Donahue (2-2, run, RBI, triple) and Colton Eager (3-5, three runs, RBI) also registered multi-hit games for the home team as ACU recorded its most base hits since last year’s wind-aided 23-20 battle vs. Houston Baptist. The Wildcats’ had 25 base hits that evening, 14 of which went for extra bases.
Nicholson retired six of the first eight batters he faced with five Ks through the first 2.0 innings, and was handed a 2-0 lead in the second inning on back-to-back run-scoring singles by second baseman Dalton Dunn and Randle.
Pine Bluff got one back in its half of the third on a RBI ground out by Nick Kruetzer, but the Wildcats responded with a run in the third and a Farkas RBI double in the fourth inning that made it a 4-1 game. ACU added a second run in the fourth courtesy of a bases-loaded walk drawn by shortstop Robert Salazar, and put up another two-spot in the fifth when Trevino delivered a two-run single to center field.
Randle and Farkas again came through at the plate in the sixth with back-to-back run-scoring hits, and then in the seventh, Randle capped the Wildcats’ scoring burst with his first homer in an ACU uniform.
Nicholson completed his 86-pitch outing with a sixth-inning strikeout of Austin Krzeminski. Drew Hanson followed with one inning of work. Bryant Jordan and Eric Wimpee combined to get through the eighth, and Payton Coffman tossed a scoreless ninth that included a strikeout of Larry Sims.