Abilene Christian lost the first game of its weekend series at 24th-ranked Tarleton State, 9-2, Friday afternoon at Cecil Ballow Baseball Complex.
The defeat snapped a three-game winning streak for the Wildcats and dropped their season and conference records to 25-17 and 13-8. The Texans, meanwhile, improved to 26-13-1 and 15-6, pushing them 2.0 games ahead of the Wildcats with seven left to play over the next two weeks.
The series between longtime rivals resumes Saturday at 2 p.m. with a seven-and-seven inning doubleheader and concludes Sunday at 1 p.m. All three games will be broadcast locally on AM 1280-KSLI.
The Wildcats tonight tallied eight hits against Matt Buckmaster, but only one went for extra bases as the Tarleton starter tossed a complete game behind six strikeouts.
ACU started to get to Buckmaster in the sixth after he allowed three hits to the first four batters, the last of which was a RBI single by that cut the Texan's lead to 3-1. However, Buckmaster quickly escaped his own jam with a pick off of at second base followed by a fly ball off the bat of .
The Wildcats also left two stranded on base in the first and grounded into an inning-ending double play in the eighth.
In their final at-bat, Giusti doubled and scored a run for the Wildcats, but by that point the Texans were comfortably ahead at 9-1.
With the exception of 1.2 innings of scoreless middle relief from , the Texans didn't miss much thrown at them by starter or reliever . Palmer struck out five through 5.1 innings, but also surrendered six runs – five earned – on 12 hits, a walk and two hit batsmen.
Ryan Small singled in the game's first two runs in the first, and then it was 3-0 in the third after Fola Lajide drove in Colten Boothe from third. Booth led off the frame with a single and stole two bases.
Lajide was one of several Texans to record a multi-hit game as he finished 3-for-5 with two RBI. In fact, the top half of the Tarleton lineup (batters No. 1 to 5) went a combined 12-for-24 with six runs and six RBI.
After the Wildcats closed within two runs at 3-1 in the sixth, the Texans answered with three runs on five consecutive singles off Palmer. Herrera then came in with the bases loaded to get the final two outs and went on to toss a scoreless seventh.
Palacios pitched the eighth and gave up three runs – two earned – on four hits. He also struck out one batter.
Information provided by ACU athletics department.