On the Bump with Cole Thompson
Monday, April 23, 2012

Welcome back to the “Senior Edition” of “On the Bump.” Due to rain, we only played two games this weekend. However, we also added two games to our schedule for next week. This week I will tell you about how our “Senior Day” went, preview our upcoming doubleheader with LSU-Shreveport, and talk about the two games we have added to our schedule.

Tuesday’s practice was short because the majority of our team was in Arkansas for a JV game. It was very productive though because the hitters in our starting lineup got a lot of swings on the field and got to work on some small things that they don’t always get the chance to practice.

Wednesday and Thursday’s practices were also light as practice mainly consisted of batting practice. Our hitters still had a sour taste in their mouths from the UT-Dallas series, so they all worked extra hard in batting practice this week and put in extra work in the batting cages.

We were supposed to play Friday against LeTourneau, but a thunderstorm forced Friday’s game to be postponed. As a result, we played a doubleheader on Saturday. We have added a few more games as a result of the rainout, so check out the end of the blog to read about our new additions to the schedule.

The first game on Saturday did not start out as planned when LeTourneau jumped out to a 4-0 lead after the top of the third inning. LeTourneau took advantage of a few errors and suicide squeezed two runs in to take the lead. Our offense got rolling in the bottom of the third when Matt Creamer, Ryan Gasporra, Tyler Clakley, and Kyle Morton strung together four consecutive two-out hits to score three runs. However, that would be all the scoring in the game as LeTourneau won by a final score of 4-3. Lance Nugent threw well enough to win, but errors and some unlucky breaks put us on the losing side. We out-hit LeTourneau 9-5, but our mistakes haunted us. We can play at a much higher level than that, but it was disappointing to come out flat after not playing well our past two weekends as well. Matt Creamer, Ryan Gasporra, and Tyler Clakley all went 2-for-4 at the plate to pace our offense.

LeTourneau scored one in the top of the first to open game two, but our offense answered back with a run when Jemari James walked with the bases loaded to bring home Matt Creamer. We scored again in the second inning to extend our lead to 2-1 when Craig Littleman scored on an error. Taylor Henry replaced me on the mound in the third inning and he threw great in relief. He threw six shutout innings and only allowed three hits while striking out six batters. While Henry cruised on the mound, our hitters continued to score runs. In the fourth inning, Ryan Gasporra singled home Matt Creamer, and Tyler Clakley followed that up with a two-run home run to deep right center field to make our lead 5-1. In the sixth inning, Tyler Clakley singled home Matt Creamer to add on another run. Our offense busted the game wide open in the eighth inning when we scored three runs to push our lead to 9-1. Matt Creamer scored on a ball hit to the outfield by Tyler Clakley. Clakley hit the ball to the wall, but the outfielder misplayed it so it was scored an error. Kyle Morton then knocked in Timmy Chhor with a sacrifice fly. Jeff Schaffert capped off the scoring by singling home Tyler Clakley. Trey Lavespere threw a shutout inning in the ninth, striking out two, to finish off our 9-1 victory.

We played much better in game two of the doubleheader. Our pitching, defense, and hitting were better and the final score obviously reflects that. Matt Creamer was the catalyst for our offense in game two as he went 4-for-4 at the plate and scored four runs. Tyler Clakley and Marc Martinez also had multi-hit games to lead our offensive attack. We also had our “Senior Day” festivities after the game. We honored Dan Lazarou, Kyle Morton, Lance Nugent, and Jeff Schaffert for their dedication and effort they have given our program. It was great to have all of their families there, especially considering that three of the four families travelled all the way to Shreveport from Michigan and Canada.

Tomorrow we play LSU-Shreveport (LSU-S) in a non-conference doubleheader. They are a great team, as reflected by their ridiculous 42-4 record.  It is extremely impressive to win 42 out of 46 games at any level of baseball. They are ranked No. 1 nationally in the NAIA poll and will present a great challenge for our ball club. It seems like we have a tendency to play to the level of our opponents. Luckily, LSU-S is a great team so hopefully we will come out tomorrow and play a solid two games of baseball. It will be a fun game for us because some of our guys are friends with several of their players so it will add a little bit of “bragging rights” to some friendships. Both teams have a great mutual respect for each other as we have played against each other the past two falls. It will be some good baseball, so if you are in the Shreveport area, come out and see two great teams go at it on the diamond.

We have also added two more games to our schedule. We will travel to LeTourneau in Longview, Texas for two games on Thursday. Rainouts have allowed these games to be tacked onto our schedule. It will be the last game in a Centenary uniform for our seniors so I know we will try our best to send them out on a good note.

Check back next week to hear how our final four games went. I will also provide a recap of the season and a quick look forward into the future of Centenary baseball. Go Gents!