Gents Split With Oakland, Need Sweep on Sunday
Saturday, May 22, 2004

Rochester, Mich.—Senior Blake Adkison belted three homeruns in a 12-10 game one victory for Centenary but the Gents would have to settle for a split as they dropped the second game of the doubleheader to Oakland 6-4. The game two loss coupled with a Southern Utah win over Oral Roberts means the Gents must sweep both games from Oakland on Sunday to earn a spot in the Mid-Con Tournament next weekend.

Centenary (22-29, 9-11 Mid-Con) outlasted the host Golden Grizzlies in the series opener as both teams held the lead several times throughout the contest. After Oakland got on the board with a single run in the second inning, the Gents responded with three runs in the third on back-to-back homeruns by Adkison and A.J. Howes. Adkison’s blast was a two-run shot.

Oakland (20-33, 10-12 Mid-Con) posted four runs on five hits in the fourth inning to regain the advantage at 5-3. The scoring was highlighted by four consecutive hits, including two doubles by the lower half of the Golden Grizzlies’ batting order.

The determined Gents plated five runs in the top of the fifth frame on six hits. After Jesse Newell led off with a single, Adkison connected on a pitch from Oakland starter Steve Kniebbe for his second homer of the day. Howes and Tony Cardone singled in front of a double by Jared Vincent to add another run and Alex Valdivia drove in two more with a single up the middle.

Oakland tied the game at 8-8 in the home half of the fifth, but Centenary added two runs in the seventh and eighth innings to put the game away on two-run dingers by Vincent and Adkison. The shot by Adkison was his third of the game and his team-leading 16th of the year.

David Ruffing improved to 8-4 on the season with the win for the Gents. He tossed six innings and allowed nine runs, six earned, but benefited from 18 Centenary hits including five homeruns. Kevin Cassidy picked up his second save of the year with three strong innings of work, during which he surrendered only one run.

Centenary would not be as fortunate in the second game of the day as the Gent bats were quieted by Oakland pitcher Billy Schmieder. The Gents collected only eight hits in the nightcap and two errors allowed the Golden Grizzlies to plate what would be the winning run in the fourth inning.

Oakland scored two runs in each of the second, third, and fourth innings in jumping out to a 6-0 lead. Centenary battled back in the fifth when a Jordan Standefer sacrifice fly and an RBI double by Bobby Gilliam cut the deficit to four.

In the sixth inning, Vincent smacked an RBI single to center field and Valdivia pushed a run across with a sacrifice fly of his own to pull the Gents within two runs. However, Centenary would strand two runners on base in the seventh inning to come up short.

In other Mid-Con action, Valparaiso (11-13 Mid-Con) took three of four games from visiting Chicago State (5-19 Mid-Con) and Southern Utah (11-13 Mid-Con) managed to avoid a series sweep from Oral Roberts (23-1 Mid-Con) by pulling out the series finale by a 10-7 score. The win for the Thunderbirds snapped a 39-game Mid-Con win streak by Oral Roberts.

As a result, the Gents must win both games of their doubleheader with Oakland on Sunday to improve to 11-11 in conference play and secure a spot in the Mid-Con Tournament. With two wins, Centenary would clinch the #3 seed in the tournament that begins on Thursday, May 27th at Shehee Stadium in Shreveport. If Oakland wins either of the games on Sunday, the Gents would finish in sixth place in the Mid-Con standings.