The 16th-ranked and third seeded University of West Alabama baseball team dropped an 8-7 decision to Abilene Christian in the opening contest of the NCAA Division II South Central Regional at Dave “Boo” Ferriss Field on the campus of Delta State University.
UWA (45-12) led through seven innings; before ACU (44-15) tied the contest 7-7 in the top of the eighth inning, behind five consecutive singles that lead to four Wildcat runs. The fourth seeded Lone Star Conference member took its first lead of the contest in the top of the ninth, as William Uechi scored on UWA’s third error of the contest.
UWA started things in its first at bat, as Todd Rea hit a two out, three-run homerun to right field that scored Tres Avans and Rob Dahlberg.
Matt Spotanski grounded out for the second out of the inning, but placed the Wildcats on the board in the top of the third, as he scored Thomas Bumpass. The Tigers matched the ACU run in the third, as Jeremy Finney scored on a single by Rea, which bounced over the first baseman’s shoulder.
ACU cut into the Tiger lead again in the fourth, as Jordan Schmitt, who led the inning off with a single, scored on a ground out William Uechi. The Wildcats added another in the fifth, as J. J. Pacheco scored on a Spotanski sacrifice fly to left field.
The Red and White added two runs in the fifth inning and one in the sixth. Dahlberg recorded a one out, single to right field in the fifth inning and later moved to third on a double down the left field line by Avans. Dahlberg scored on a fielder’s choice, as he slid under the tag of Schmitt. Avans became the second run of the inning, as he took home plate on a throw down to second base trying to erase Rea.
Back-to-back doubles down the left field line in the sixth plated the Tigers solo run in the inning, as Brent Bumgarner scored on Jake DeRoy’s hit, extending the lead to 7-3.
Brian Burgess (2-1) received the loss in relief, pitching two innings with one run allowed on two hits with one strikeout. UWA started Mike Schmitt pitched seven innings, allowing six runs, all earned, on 13 hits, while tallying four strikeouts.
West Alabama returns to action on Saturday, May 17, as the Tigers will face the winner of top seeded Delta State and six seed Texas A&M at Kingsville at 3:00 p.m. The game will be carried on 104.9-FM and www.athletics.uwa.edu.