Gents Split Doubleheader With WIU 6-5, 1-6
Saturday, May 8, 2004

Shreveport—The Centenary Gents remained alive in the Mid-Con race for the fourth and final spot in the conference tournament after splitting a doubleheader with Western Illinois on Saturday. The Leathernecks took the series opener 6-1 before the Gents prevailed 6-5 in an 11-inning battle in the nightcap. With the split, Centenary is now in a three-way tie for fourth place in the league standings with Southern Utah and Valparaiso.

Centenary (20-26, 7-9 Mid-Con) struggled to put hits on the board in game one as the Gents finished the contest with only three safeties. The two teams were involved in a pitchers duel through the first five innings as Western Illinois led 1-0 on two hits before the Leathernecks broke through in the sixth frame with three runs. After three singles, Nick Simmons drove in two runs with a double down the left field line to give the visitors the edge it would need.

Western Illinois (23-31, 9-9 Mid-Con) received a strong pitching performance from starter Pat Kohorst (6-5) as he notched his fifth complete game on the year. He allowed only one run on three hits and struck out four Centenary hitters. His counterpart, Kevin Willborn, also went the distance but surrendered six runs to fall to 5-4 on the season.

After combining for 14 hits, 11 by Western Illinois in the first game, each team totaled 14 hits in game two. The Leathernecks pushed a run across in the first inning but the Gents answered with a four-run second inning. Alex Valdivia led off with a walk and advanced to second on a groundout. A.J. Howes doubled in Valdivia to knot the game at one apiece and was followed by a bunt single and a hit batter to load the bases. Bobby Gilliam legged out an infield single to advance all runners and David Kiefer singled to right center to score two more.

Western Illinois fought back with three runs in the fifth inning on three hits and the help of three Centenary errors to tie the game at 4-4. Both teams added another run in their next at-bat and the game went to extra innings after the Gents failed to cash in on a bases loaded and one out situation in the bottom of the seventh.

Both teams failed to send a runner across home plate despite having several opportunities to do so in the first three extra frames. In the bottom half of the eleventh inning, Kiefer led off with a sharp single to left center field and advanced to second when Dane Ainsworth bobbled the ball. Kiefer moved to third on a passed ball and was still there after a strikeout. With one out and a runner on third, Western Illinois coach Stan Hyman elected to intentionally walk both Blake Adkison and Valdivia to load the bases with the intent to provide a double play option for his fielders. However, after the free pass to Adkison and the first three tosses to Valdivia, pitcher Tim Navin dropped the ball while standing on the pitcher’s rubber. The result was a balk and Kiefer scored from third base to end the game.

Kevin Cassidy pitched five scoreless innings in relief while striking out five batters to improve to 3-6. Navin dropped to 2-5 on the campaign with the loss.

The two teams will meet again on Sunday for a doubleheader beginning at 12 p.m.