The softball team traveled to warmer weather this weekend and competed in the Dolphin Invitational in Jacksonville, Florida.
The ‘Cats played double-headers on Friday and Saturday and wrapped up their five-game tournament on Sunday. ACU would leave Florida without a win, including a close 4-3 loss to Campbell on Sunday afternoon, moving to 3-13 on the season.
Senior pitcher Emily Seidel started both games Friday against Campbell and Jacksonville. Seidel struck out eight batters through nine innings but got jammed in the third when Campbell produced two runs. She continued to battle with baserunners from the fourth through the sixth inning.
The team struggled to capitalize offensively Friday. Against Campbell, the Wildcats left runners on third base in the third and fourth innings and runners at first and second in the sixth, leading to a 3-1 loss.
“I don’t think we brought the same level of intensity as we did to the Baylor tournament,” sophomore infielder Tori Valdivia said. “We never had all three parts of the game (offense, defense and pitching) working at the same at any point in the tournament.”
ACU would then fall to the invitational host, Jacksonville University, 9-1. The Dolphins started off fast and held the lead until the end.
Sophomore outfielder Taylor Brown produced ACU’s lone run of the game in the fifth on an RBI-single that would score teammate freshman outfielder Brianna Barnhill. Jacksonville would add two in the bottom of the fifth to cut the game short.
Saturday morning brought on Cleveland State and Savannah State in day two of the invitational.
Freshman infielder Peyton Hedrick went 6-for-7, while junior catcher Cara Hoover and Barnhill each had two homeruns through both games against Cleveland State and Savannah State.
The Wildcats started the day against Cleveland State. ACU came out strong and took an 11-6 lead in the bottom of the fourth, but would watch as the Vikings scored the game’s final eight runs. Miscues and four errors would be a main factor in the loss against Cleveland State. The final score was 14-11, with both teams combining for 30 hits.
Savannah State was next on the slate. ACU would lose the lead early in first inning, but would come back to tie things up with a seven-run third inning, after Savannah added four more at the top of the inning. Tied 7-7, the Wildcats would go up by one, but would then give up four runs for a final score of 11-8.
Going into the final games of the tournament, head coach Bobby Reeves had one theme for the girls.
“Find a way,” Valdivia said. “Whether it’s finding a way on base, finding an out or, most importantly, finding a way to win.”
Seidel once again started both games, striking out four over 7.1 innings pitched. Seidel and junior pitcher Julia Montoya combined to give up 12 home runs.
In the final game of the invitational, ACU played Campbell University again and came up short.
Hedrick had another good game, leading the Wildcats at the plate this weekend with two RBIs, two extra-base hits and a .556 hitting average.
ACU scored their first run of the game in the fifth on a squeeze bunt by Hedrick that allowed Brown to score. However, the Wildcats had two other runners thrown out at home in the same inning.
The ‘Cats would drop this one as well, 4-3.
ACU returns home this weekend in a three-game series against Southeastern Louisiana for their first game in conference play.
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