Gents Fall Just Short to LSU Tuesday
Tuesday, March 6, 2007

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Box Score

Johnny Noland allowed just
three hits over 5 2/3 innings
against LSU Tuesday

SHREVEPORT, La. -- The battle of Louisiana fell to LSU (9-6) Tuesday at Fair Grounds Field, as the Tigers defeated the Centenary baseball team (8-11) by a score of 2-1. Johnny Noland of the Gents pitched a gem of a game to keep Centenary within striking distance.

In what could be classified as a pitcher’s dual, a crowd of 3,876 witnessed one of the lowest scoring affairs between Centenary and LSU in recent memory. Both pitching staffs, led by Noland and LSU starter T.J. Forrest, had their game in Tuesday’s matchup.

Although suffering the loss to the Tigers of the SEC, Centenary head coach Ed McCann was very proud of his group.

"This group is growing up. There’s no quitting in them and things just get better and better," McCann said. "They understand it’s a marathon, not a sprint, and as long as we stay where we’re at and continue to get better, we’ll have a chance."

The Gents got off to a rocky start, allowing two runs, both unearned, in the first and second innings. In the end, the two runs was all LSU needed to capture the win in Tuesday’s contest.

With Jared Mitchell on first after drawing a walk, Noland missed first baseman Cameron Penney (Valley Center, Calif.) on a pickoff attempt, throwing the ball against the wall of the stands. As the ball rolled away in foul territory, Mitchell took advantage of the misplay to score from first to give LSU a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning.

The Tigers added to the lead in the second when Jordan Mayer scored from third on a Centenary error, taking a 2-0 lead.

Regardless of the two early runs, Noland, who may have been showing signs of jitters early, calmed down and began to go to work on the Tiger batters.

In his best start to date in the 2007 season, Noland did not allow a hit over the first three innings of the start, giving up just three hits in his 5 2/3 innings of work. The junior from Aliso Viejo, Calif. induced numerous ground balls and flyouts to get out of jams in Tuesday’s start, leaving to a standing ovation for a job well done in the sixth inning.

His effort applauded by McCann and the Centenary coaching staff, Noland gave the hometown crowd something to cheer about with his hard-nosed pitching Tuesday.

"After the first inning, I settled down and let the defense do the job," Noland said. "Losing 2-1 to an SEC team can be used as a building block and we’re taking big steps to where we want to go."

The lone run for the Gents came in the bottom of the fourth when Penney scored from third. Off of Clay Dirks, Penney led off the inning with a single to right, later stealing third and scoring on an Alex Maldonado (Whittier, Calif.) groundout.

Zeros filled the board after the Centenary score in the fourth, with the Gents and the Tigers going head-to-head on the mound.

Nolan Cain, Darryl Shaffer and Louis Coleman combined to allow just four hits over the final six innings for LSU, while striking out six. The relief duo of Aaron Bronson (Kent, Wash.) and Dakota Robinson (Bossier City) allowed just two hits over the final 3 1/3 innings for Centenary.

The missed opportunity to tie the game came in the seventh for the Gents. After Teddy Saenz (San Jose, Calif.) singled down the leftfield line to lead off the inning, Nate Santiago (Mukilteo, Wash.) beat out the throw by Shaffer with a head-first slide to give Centenary runners on the corners with one out.

Going for a double steal, Saenz was tagged out at home by catcher Sean Ochinko, with the inning ending on a Justin Huff (Beaumont, Texas) strikeout.

Still down a run, the Gents couldn’t get a hit over the final two innings, with Coleman shutting the door on Centenary for the save.

Forrest, a native of the Shreveport-Bossier City area making his first collegiate appearance, pitched three innings, allowing one hit for the win.

Centenary returns to action Saturday, hosting Trinity at Shehee Stadium at 7 p.m.

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