Incarnate Word shortstop Bryce Shepherd drove in four runs Thursday afternoon as the Cardinals knocked off ACU, 9-6, in the opening game of the final three-game Southland Conference series of the season for both teams at Danny Sullivan Field.
The teams will continue the series Friday at 3 p.m. before wrapping up the conference season Sunday at 1 p.m. The Wildcats will then close the 2014 season next week with a game at Arizona State (Tuesday) and three gams at Arizona (May 23-25). The game at Arizona State will be the final game at historic Packard Stadium.
The Wildcats are now 17-31 overall and 6-16 in the Southland Conference, while the Cardinals improve to 16-32 and 7-15.
Incarnate Word jumped on ACU starting pitcher Brady Rodriguez (2-5) for five runs on six hits and four walks in 5 2/3 innings of work. Relievers Gabe Sager and Austin Lambright combined to allow four runs on two hits and five walks. Four ACU pitchers combined to give up nine hits and nine walks in the game.
Shepherd had an RBI double in a three-run UIW second inning, an RBI walk in a two-run sixth and a two-run single in a four-run seventh. That four-run outburst gave UIW a 9-0 lead after seven innings.
ACU got three runs in the eighth inning and three more in the ninth to cut the final deficit to 9-6. Gunnar Buhner had an RBI walk in the eighth, followed by an RBI fielder's choice by Colton Hall and a steal of home by Jordan Forrester. In the ninth, Russell Crippen drove in two runs with a double to right field and later scored on a UIW error.
Emil Litterer and Crippen each had two hits and scored twice, while Hall had two hits and an RBI.å
Information for this story provided by ACU Athletics.