ABILENE, Texas - The Wildcats came all the way back from an 8-2 deficit with an eight-run eighth only to see Eastern New Mexico tag their bullpen for three late-inning runs and escape Crutcher Scott Field with an 11-10 victory Thursday night.
Greyhound centerfielder Brooke Brooks drove home the game-winning run with one out in the 11th off reliever (0-1), who was the Wildcats' fifth pitcher of the night. Brooks finished the game 2-for-5 with two extra-base hits, two RBI and two runs.
ACU (18-12, 6-3 LSC) went on to put the game-tying run on third base with two outs in its half of the 11th, but there wouldn't be a second round of offensive heroics this time as reliever Ryan Pruitt (4-1) got pinch hitter to end the game on a pop up.
Both sides could easily contend that tonight's game should never have gotten as far as it did, however, each was plagued at different times by poor pitching and defense that kept more than a few innings alive for the offense.
At the start of the Wildcats' eighth, the home team is trailing 8-2 and facing a starter in Brett Humphries, who by this point has only allowed three hits and a pair of unearned runs in the second inning. Humphries gets the first batter, , on a ground ball, but then the inning quickly slips away from him as he hits the next three batters.
Humphries is lifted for Pruitt, who in turn gets no help from his infielders as the second baseman drops the ball out of his mitt and the third baseman misplays a slow-roller off the bat of for what should have been the second and third outs. Those two miscues led to two runs, which cut Eastern's lead in half at 8-4.
No. 9 batter then came back from an 0-2 hole to draw a bases-loaded walk, and followed with a three-run triple down the right-field line that tied the game at 8-8.
reached on a fielder's choice in which Spivey was gunned down at the plate, but the Wildcats get the run back on the very next play as senior blasted a go-ahead, two-run home run to left - his first of the year.
took to the mound for ACU in the ninth since the Wildcats' regular closer had already been used in between the seventh and eighth innings. Palmer got two ground balls in between a walk, but soon found himself with the bases loaded following a walk to Brooks and a hit-by-pitch to Colton Sims. That forced ACU to bring starter out of the bullpen to face pinch hitter Matthew Spradlin, who today was appearing in just his eighth game of the season.
But Spradlin came through big time as he slapped a comebacker under Hahn's glove and past the outstretched arm of Durate the shortstop that tied the game at 10-10.
Hahn would surrender another base hit, but Schuetze was able to throw Sims out at home plate from shallow right field.
Palacios retired the side in order in the 10th inning and got the first out of the 11th before giving up a single to left by Ryan Forkel. Brooks then slapped an RBI double to the right-field wall for the game-clinching hit.
ACU started the game ahead 2-0, but the Greyhounds (17-10, 5-4 LSC) rallied against starter and Rodriguez with eight-straight runs on 11 hits - six of which were for extra-bases. Eastern scored three in the third, one in the fifth on Brett Ackerman's solo shot, and then plated four more in between the seventh and eighth innings.
Ackerman was one of five Greyhounds with a multi-hit game as Eastern finished with 15 hits.
ACU, meanwhile, scored 10 times on just six hits, but was helped along the way by six Greyhound errors, six hit batsmen and five walks.
Spivey led all Wildcats with two hits and four RBI.
The two sides resume their four-game series Friday with a 2 p.m. doubleheader.
Information for this story provided by ACU Sports Information.
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