The Wildcats' season record dropped to 9-5 following the sweep, while East Central improved to 10-7. ACU will look to salvage a split of the four-game series Sunday at 1:35 p.m. The game will be broadcast live by Grant Boone on 1280 AM KSLI.
ACU played from behind all afternoon, and whenever it appeared the momentum was on its side, ECU always found a way to retake or further build upon its lead.
Twice the Wildcats came back to tie the Tigers in game one, first receiving a RBI single from Mark Bailey in the second inning to knot the score at 1-1, and then capitalizing on the pitcher's throwing error in the fourth to even things up at 3-3.
But in the Tigers' very next at-bat in the fifth, Ethan Gold and Rick Hepworth both reached base as a result of dropped fly balls to the outfield. A steady wind of 25 to 30 miles per hour blowing in from the south played havoc with every fielder at some point today; however, in each of these instances the outfielder in question was camped underneath the ball ready to make the catch but failed to do so.
The dropped ball in left resulted in two bases for Gold, and the muffed catch in center placed two runners in scoring position, thereby setting up Chris Montgomery's go-ahead two-run single off starter Jordan Herrera (2-2).
From there ECU starter Erik Fredrick (3-0) scattered just two more hits over the final 3.0 innings. Duncan Blades singled in the fifth, but was wiped out on a 6-3 double play, and in the sixth, pinch hitter Ryan Luckie was left stranded at third after clubbing a one-out triple. The Wildcats went down in order in the seventh.
Game two followed a similar pattern, except in this contest ACU could never completely come back from a 5-0 deficit.
The Wildcats pulled within a run thanks to a four-run fifth, in which they recorded just one hit - a two run single by Blades - but East Central would respond with seven more runs over the final three innings.
The Tigers scored once in the sixth to take a 6-4 lead, and then after seeing their advantage cut in half again, they exploded for five runs in the seventh on five hits - all singles - and two walks.
ACU attempted a seventh-inning rally as Rodge Macy led off with a double down the right field line followed by an RBI single from Blades, who finished 3 for 4 with 3 RBI. But the next batter, Chuck Duarte, grounded into a double play, and Bailey then struck out looking to end the game.
The Wildcats stranded 14 runners between both ends of the doubleheader. ECU left 17 on base.