Baseball – ACU scores eight, two-out runs in 9-3 win over McNeese

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ABILENE, Texas – Abilene Christian scored five, two-out runs in the bottom of the second inning then added three, two-out insurance runs in the bottom of the seventh, to lead it to a 9-3 win over the McNeese Cowboys in the first game of a three-game Southland Conference baseball series.

The loss dropped the Cowboys to 21-21 overall and 7-12 in league play while ACU improved to 22-18 and 9-10.

McNeese starting pitcher Cayne Ueckert (1-3) was hit for the loss after he lasted just two innings and gave up six runs, all six earned, on seven hits while ACU starter Spencer Chirpich (7-2) picked up the win with seven innings tossed and allowed three runs, two earned, on six hits.

After a scoreless first inning and a zero by the Cowboys in the top of the second, ACU got the bottom half of the inning going with a lead-off single by left fielder Dalon Farkas through the right side. But that seemed like it would be a short rally as the next two batters went down in order.

However, the Wildcats strung together a streak of five straight batters reaching base, three singles, a double and a walk, and plated five runs before the Cowboys were able to get Trevino out at third as he tried to stretch a 2-run double into a triple.

In that rally, third baseman Matthew Nerz got the rally going with an infield single to third base then right fielder Colton Eager followed with an infield single up the middle to score Farkas to put ACU up 1-0. Shortstop Dalton Dunn walked to load the bases and center fielder Derek Scott singled to right field to drive in two runs to make it a 3-0 game. Trevino then doubled to right to score two more to make it 5-0 before the inning ended.

ACU added another run in the third inning after first baseman Collin Chaney led off with a double and after a pitching change saw Zach Rider come out of the Cowboys’ bullpen, Farkas singled to left field to score Chaney, a run marked against Ueckert, to put the Wildcats up 6-0.

Rider settled in and held the Wildcats at bay with zeroes the next four innings.

Meanwhile, McNeese started chipping away at the lead.

In the fifth, the Cowboys got the first two batters on base on back-to-back singles by Jake Dickerson and Carson Maxwell. The duo would each advance a base on a Jake Cochran strike out and would have to hold on a Dustin Duhon pop out to second base for the second out.

A passed ball scored Dickerson to put the Cowboys on the board and cut the lead to 6-1 but Maxwell would be left stranded after Payton Harden’s liner to center field was caught.

McNeese cut the margin to 6-3 in the seventh after Maxwell led things off with a single through the right side, then advanced to third on Cochran’s double down the left field line.

Duhon followed with a sac fly to right field to score Maxwell to make it 6-2 as Cochran advanced to third on the play, and Bourque hit a sacrifice fly to score Cochran to cut the margin to 6-3.

But ACU put things away in the bottom of the seventh.

After a Dunn single led things off and Bryan King was entered to relieve Rider, Scott followed by reaching on a fielder’s choice as Dunn was thrown out at second, and Trevino walked to put runners at first and second. After Chaney struck out for the second out of the inning, Farkas blasted a three-run home run over the left field wall to complete a 4-for-4, four RBI game for the senior.

McNeese was sat down in order in the eighth and ninth innings against Wildcat reliever Logan Patterson.

Offensively, McNeese as out-hit by a 13-6 margin as Maxwell’s 2-for-4 night would make him the only multi-hit player for the Cowboys.

In addition to Farkas’ four-hit game, Dunn added a 3-for-4 night as eight of the nine players in the Wildcat lineup popped at least one hit.

The series will continue with game two on Saturday afternoon with a 2 o’clock first pitch.

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