Abilene Christian softball followed a convincing 8-1 win against 17th-ranked Midwestern State with a heartbreaking, nine-inning loss Saturday afternoon at Poly Wells Field to finish its regular season at 28-25 overall and 12-15 vs. the Lone Star Conference.
The doubleheader split locked the Wildcats into seventh place, meaning their next game will be against second-place Texas Woman's Friday, May 3 at 2 p.m. during the quarterfinal round of the conference championship.
Midwestern State (41-14, 18-9), meanwhile, will go in as the fourth seed behind top-seed and tournament host West Texas A&M, the Pioneers and Angelo State.
Game One Recap
ACU scored eight unanswered runs in between the fourth and sixth innings to capture the first game of today's doubleheader, 8-1.
The offense backed senior 's (14-11) strong 7.0-inning, six strikeout effort with eight hits, which included two-run singles from freshman and juniors and .
Hoover's high-chopper over the third baseman's glove in the fourth gave ACU its first lead of the game at 2-1. Peacock then made it a 3-1 game in the fifth as she dropped a two-out flare in front of the right fielder that allowed Smith to score all the way from first.
ACU put the game to bed with a four-run sixth, in which all the runs were unearned due to a two-out error by shortstop Shelby Carter. Smith capitalized on the situation with a two-run hit through the right side, and after walked to load the bases, Peacock drove home her second and third runners on a shot back up the middle.
Smith finished game one 3-for-4 with three runs and two RBI, while Peacock went 2-for-3 with three RBI.
Crain allowed her only run in the fourth on back-to-back doubles by Courtney Bingham and Katelyn Vinson. She escaped a two-on, no-out situation later that frame with two groundouts and strikeout of Haley Howerton.
MSU starter Katherine Batey (16-7) struck out five through six innings, but also surrendered eight runs - three earned - on eight hits and six walks.
Game Two Recap
Midwestern State's stable of power hitters got the best of ACU and Crain in an 8-7 victory that lasted nine innings.
The Wildcats had just retaken the lead for a third time when Crain (14-12) went back out for a second inning of work and start the seventh. The inning began with a dramatic catch in center field by , who crashed into the wall, and was followed by a routine ground ball to shortstop .
Crain then started Carter in a 0-2 hole, but several pitches later the Mustang shortstop crushed a 2-2 pitch over the wall in left to tie the game at 7-7. The score stayed that way until the ninth when MSU's No. 6 batter Christina Roosmalen – who at that point was 0-for-4 with four ground balls – led off the inning with a round-tripper that snuck inside the left-field foul pole.
Roosmalen's home run was her eighth of the season, and for Carter it was her ninth. MSU has hit 83 home runs as a team this season, including four this weekend.
ACU threatened by putting two on with two outs in its half of the ninth, but starter Laci Belvosky (25-7) got to end the game with a soft pop up back to the circle.
Senior started for the Wildcats and twice had her team down by scores of 2-0 and 5-3. The Mustangs scored two in the first on Kelley Schaefer's two-run, two-out double to center, but the Wildcats came right back with three runs as their first five batters all reached base.
Winkfield led off with a double and scored on Vaughn's single up the middle. Buckley then reached on the first of four MSU errors and Smith followed with an RBI hit to plate Vaughn. Two batters later, Peacock made it a 3-2 game with a ground ball to second.
Hall recorded two quick outs to start the second, but an error by the Wildcats' second baseman kept the inning alive for Howerton's infield single and Bingham's bases-clearing triple that pushed the MSU lead to 5-3.
ACU rallied again in the fourth with three more runs. Buckley got things rolling with a RBI hit through the right side to score Fitzgerald, and after the right fielder's throw skipped past the catcher, Winkfield scurried home to tie the game at 5-5. Buckley scored the go-ahead run a couple plays later after sliding under the tag on 's squeeze bunt.
MSU chased Hall from the game in the sixth and eventually tied the score at 6-6 on Howerton's RBI fielder's choice to shortstop, but the Wildcats would strike again in the bottom of that inning after Buckley – who doubled with one out – came home to give the ACU its final lead at 7-6 on Flanary's rip through the left side.
Buckley finished game two 3-for-4 with three runs and a RBI. Winkfield also had three hits, while Vaughn and Smith each had two.
Information provided by ACU athletics department.