Gents Earn Mid-Con Tourney Berth
Sunday, May 22, 2005

VALPARAISO, Ind.—The Centenary Gents got the final day split they were looking for against Valparaiso on Sunday to claim the fourth and final spot in the Mid-Continent Conference Tournament. The Gents ended the suspense early with a 10-1 thumping of the Crusaders before Valpo wrapped up its season with a bang by taking game two 15-4. The #4 Gents will join #1 Oral Roberts, #2 Western Illinois, and #3 Southern Utah in Tulsa, Okla., on the campus of ORU for the Mid-Con Tournament starting on Thursday.


Centenary (25-27, 12-12 Mid-Con) received a strong pitching effort for the third consecutive game of the series from its starters as David McElroy allowed only a single run in the first inning. Valpo lead-off man, Brian Rzepka, opened the home portion of the frame with a home run to tie the score at 1-1, but the Crusaders would be held scoreless the rest of the way. McElroy tossed eight innings in the win, striking out six, to improve his record to 7-2 on the season.


The Gents would provide all the offense McElroy would need in the top of the third when Centenary posted four runs on three hits and an error. With the bases loaded after a walk and two singles, a wild pitch advanced all runners and scored A.J. Howes from third base. David Kiefer’s ground ball to the shortstop was misplayed, allowing Alex Valdivia to cross the pay station just before Chris Wilson’s double plated Tim Ryan. After a pitching change, Kiefer scored on a ground out by Justin Darr.


From there Centenary would go on to add single runs in the final five innings to put the game away and take the 10-1 tournament-clinching victory. The Gents pounded out 13 hits in the contest led by Wilson’s 3-for-5 effort with three RBI.


Valparaiso (21-31, 10-12 Mid-Con) opened game two with revenge on their mind as the Crusaders exploded for eight runs on eight hits and a walk in the first inning. The Gents found themselves down 11-0 before they scored three times in the sixth after back-to-back doubles by Jonathan Ahearn and Howes. Valpo responded with four more runs in the bottom half of the inning to seal the 15-4 win.


Wilson finished the day going 4-for-7 with three RBI while Ahearn was 3-for-8 with a pair of RBI and two runs. Kiefer notched his team-leading sixth triple of the year in the first game of the day.