Gents Salvage Split After Oakland Comeback
Saturday, May 13, 2006

Will Kaage

Brandon Fulenchek

Matt Webb

Alex Maldonado

Justin Darr

ROCHESTER, Mich.---The Centenary baseball team fell victim to a six-run rally in the bottom of the ninth to lose its series opening game with Oakland 9-8 in Mid-Continent Conference play on Saturday. The Gents did recover on the pitching arm of Will Kaage to earn the day one split by taking the nightcap 6-1. 


Centenary (22-27, 10-10 Mid-Con) scored four runs in the first inning to jump out to an early led in game one. Tim Ryan started things off with a single and Torey Williams drew a walk. Matt Webb then singled to left field to drive in Ryan before Oakland committed a pair of errors on defense to open things up for the Gents.


Jimmy Baker’s grounder to second resulted in a poor throw to load the bases with one out and Justin Huff’s dribbler to third base was thrown away to plate another run. Having already had the opportunity to be out of the inning, Centenary’s Alex Maldonado made the Golden Grizzlies pay by stroking a two-run single to left center to put the Gents up 4-0.


Oakland (18-30, 12-6 Mid-Con) scratched back with two runs in the fourth before the Maroon and White extended its lead to 7-2 with three in the seventh all on Webb’s fourth long ball of the season. 


Centenary starter Brandon Fulenchek cruised through the first six innings but ran into trouble in the bottom of the seventh. He allowed four hits and a walk in the frame but left with two outs after surrendering only a single run after two Oakland runners were thrown out on the bases. Kris Calhoun recorded the final out to end the threat.


Fulenchek left after 6 2/3 innings of work and allowed only three runs on 11 hits, two free passes, and a strikeout.


The Gents added what they thought was an insurance run in the top of the ninth when Justin Darr’s two-out single pushed Ryan across for the third time in the game. Now leading 8-3, Centenary would struggle to close the door on the Golden Grizzlies on their home field.


Oakland got two runs back quickly when Kevin Carkeek singled to start the rally and Ryan Heath followed with a homerun. After a fly out to center, Calhoun allowed back-to-back singles and was replaced by Cam Feightner on the mound. Feightner was greeted rudely as Justin Wilson launched a three-run shot to knot the game at 8-8.


Feightner (4-3) recorded the second out of the inning via strikeout ahead of another single and a walk, which brought Carkeek to the plate for the second time in the inning. The Oakland catcher worked a 2-2 count and then laced a double down the left field line to drive in the game-winner.   


Kaage took the pitching matters into his own hands in game two, tossing a complete game while scattering 10 hits that plated only one run. The righty improved to 4-3 on the season by working out of jams despite surrendering at least one hit in every inning.


Offensively, the Gents scored two runs in the second inning thanks to singles by Baker, Maldonado, and Alex Valdivia. Robbie Knowles also provided an RBI double in the frame.


Oakland answered with its lone run in the bottom of the second and the score remained 2-1 until Centenary broke through for four runs in the seventh inning all with two outs. With Ryan on base with a walk, Webb, Darr, Huff, and Maldonado all singled separated by a walk by Baker to provide the winning margin.


Ryan and Maldonado each recorded four hits on the day while Webb and Darr added three hits apiece. Webb and Maldonado also added four RBI in the doubleheader.


The Gents and Golden Grizzlies will lock up again on Sunday to decide the series with another pair of games beginning at 12 p.m.