Abilene Christian softball split its season-opening doubleheader Sunday at Poly Wells Field vs. Texas Lutheran as the Wildcats followed a 10-7 win a 4-3 defeat in which the Bulldogs scored all their runs on a grand slam by junior second baseman Ashley Jacobsen.
After scoring 10 times in game one, the Wildcat offense continued to roll into game two with three runs through the first 2.0 innings. Senior center fielder Madison Buckley stole home for the night cap's first run and then No. 2 hitter Paige Stevens came around on a run-scoring single by senior Lyndi Smith, who finished the afternoon with four hits and five RBI.
But after a bases-loaded walk to Stevens in the second made it a 3-0 game, the offense suddenly stalled and the Bulldogs' capitalized against reliever Peyton Mosley in the sixth. Mosley replaced freshman starter Hannah Null, who at that point was working on a two-hit shutout.
No. 9 hitter Jacquelyn Brown got the Bulldogs' rally started with a triple to left center and walks were then issued to Grace Estes and Jaime Ohm, which loaded the bases behind Mosley after 14 pitches.
Null was brought back out of the bullpen to face Jacobsen only to surrender a four-run shot over the wall in left that put the Bulldogs' ahead for good at 4-3.
Null went on to retire five of the next seven batters through the final 2.0 innings, finishing with seven strikeouts. She also earned the save in game one, punching out five over 2.2 innings.
Kimberly Leschber secured the game two victory, retiring nine of the final 10 batters she faced, including designated player Emily Seidel who lined out back to the circle in leaving a runner at third base in the fifth.
Amanda Lochte earned the save behind 2.0 innings of work. She was credited with four assists and stranded runners at third base in both the sixth and seventh.
Earlier in the day, the Wildcats received four RBI from Smith starting with a first-inning solo home run that tied the score at 1-1. She then doubled home Taylor Brown during ACU's seven-run second and added a pair of insurance runs in the sixth, singling in Buckley and Stevens.
The Wildcats' big seven-run inning was aided by a pair of Bulldog fielding errors. With two outs and runners at first and second, Buckley hit a ground ball that deflected off the side of third baseman Heather Hummel's glove and then Brown ripped a single to right that got under the glove of Molly Gorrie. The next five Wildcats all reached base in giving ACU an 8-1 lead after two frames.
The home team needed all those runs as the Bulldogs slowly began to chip away at their deficit. Estes hit the first of her two solo home runs in the third to make it 8-2 and then Taylor Yancey drove a Mosley pitch over the wall in right to cut it to 8-4.
Estes' second shot came against Seidel to start the fifth, and four batters later it was an 8-6 ball game after Seidel tossed a comebacker over the head of Smith at first base.
Texas Lutheran made it a one-run game in the sixth after Estes scored her fourth run of the game on a single by Gorrie. But with the game-tying and go-ahead runs on first and second, Null ended the threat with a swinging strikeout of Yancey. Shethen retired the side in order in the seventh.
The Wildcats return to action Wednesday at home for a 2/4 p.m. doubleheader vs. Prairie View A&M.
Information provided by ACU athletics department.