Ty Taylor pitched 7 1/3 strong innings and Kyle Giusti drove in two runs Saturday afternoon as the ACU Wildcats won their third straight Lone Star Conference baseball series with a 4-2 win over Eastern New Mexico at Crutcher Scott Field.
The win helped the Wildcats take 3 of 4 games from the Greyhounds and push them to 21-12 overall and 9-3 in the LSC, keeping them tied with Tarleton State (20-10-1 and 9-3). The Greyhounds, meanwhile, are 17-13 and 5-7. ACU will be back in action next weekend in Canyon for a four-game series against West Texas A&M that starts with a single game Friday night.
The Greyhounds – the top hitting team in the league – were limited to just seven runs in the final three games of the series, all ACU victories. Taylor scattered eighth hits over his 7 1/3 innings of work and left the game in the eighth inning with a 3-1 lead.
Taylor – who picked up the win to run his record to 3-3 on the season – gave up just one walk and struck out three Greyhounds on the afternoon.
He left in the eighth after giving up a one-out single to Peter Creamer and then a double to Jacob Rogers. Pinch-runner Rawley Gomez might have scored on the double, but he tripped going around second and was held at third base.
That double signaled Taylor's exit and brought closer Brady Rodriguez in from the bullpen. Rodriguez, however, immediately hit Matthew Spradlin to load the bases. However, Rodriguez got a big out when Giusti smothered a smash down the third base line by Ryan Forkel and he touched third to get a force out on Rogers. Gomez scored to make it a 3-2 game, but Rodriguez got out of further damage when he induced a comebacker from Rafael Romo for the final out of the inning.
ACU got its two-run advantage back in the bottom of the eighth inning when J.R. Roland led off with a single to left and was replaced by pinch-runner Mason Smith. Chuck Duarte laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Smith to second before Ryan Luckie struck out for the second out of the inning.
But Seth Spivey drove in a big insurance run when he doubled into the left-centerfield gap to score Smith and push ACU's lead back to 4-2.
In the top of the ninth, the Greyhounds put runners at first and second with one out before Colton Sims grounded into a fielder's choice that erased Brook Brooks at second base for the second out of the inning. Pinch-hitter Derek Crenshaw then struck out for the final out of the game as Rodriguez recorded his sixth save of the season, tied for the seventh-highest single-season total in school history with Ruben Rivera (2006), Jarrod Cross (1999) and Kris Carlson (2011).
ACU got on the board first with a single run in the bottom of the third when Giusti drove in Spivey with an RBI groundout to shortstop. Travis Schuetze then drove in a run in the fifth with a squeeze bunt that plated Luckie to make it 2-0.
After ENMU cut the lead to 2-1 with a run in the seventh, ACU pushed its lead back to 3-1 with a run in the in the bottom of the seventh. With one out and Tyler Eager on second, Giusti singled to center to drive in Eager for a two-run advantage, setting up the final two innings.
Information provided by ACU athletics department.