No. 9 Arkansas Rallies Past Gents for 16-14 Win
Wednesday, March 21, 2007

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Box Score

Matt Webb had two home runs
and three RBI against Arkansas

SHREVEPORT, La. -- Centenary (10-16) just couldn’t hold on against No. 9 University of Arkansas (17-6) Wednesday at Shehee Stadium. The Razorbacks scored seven runs late to defeat the Gents 16-14 in the high-scoring affair.

Despite scoring a season-high 14 runs in Wednesday’s game, the relief pitching failed Centenary in the late innings and cost the Gents a potential victory over the nationally-ranked Razorbacks.

"I’m happy with our offense, but I thought our middle relief was as bad as I’ve ever seen. That’s being honest," said Ed McCann, Centenary head coach, following the loss. "You take away a lot of positives away with our offense, but defensively we need to get better."

The offense propelled the Gents to a 10-2 lead over the first two innings of Wednesday’s game.

Centenary was not intimidated against the SEC powerhouse, but rather challenged and determined, ready at the first pitch to capture one of the school’s biggest victories.

After allowing two runs in the top of the first, the Gents put up eight runs in the bottom half of the inning to explode to a 8-2 lead on the Razorbacks and quiet the predominately Arkansas crowd at Shehee Stadium.

Right off the bat in the first, senior outfielder Matt Webb (Blue Springs, Mo.) hit a double to left field to bring home fellow-senior Justin Huff (Beaumont, Texas) from first. Webb flourished Wednesday in his recent move to the two spot in the order, finishing with three RBI, three runs scored and two home runs against the Razorbacks.

Still in the first, Justin Darr (The Woodlands, Texas) hit a single to right to score Webb and tie the game at 2-2 with no outs on the board. After Alex Maldonado (Whittier, Calif.) hit a single to left and Mike Davis (Ruston, La.) walked to load the bases, junior infielder Teddy Saenz (San Jose, Calif.) singled to right to score Maldonado from third and give Centenary its first lead of the contest at 3-2.

The Saenz hit ended the day for Arkansas starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel, who recorded just one out and allowed six runs.

With the bases still loaded, Centenary senior Nate Santiago (Mukilteo, Wash.) drew a walk to scored another run for the Gents, followed by a Garrett DeRooy (Duvall, Wash.) single up the middle to score Davis and Saenz and give Centenary a 6-2 lead.

Going through the order a second time, Webb walked to load the bases for Darr, who again hit a single to right field, scoring two more runs for the Gents.

In total, Centenary ended the first inning with eight runs and six hits, holding an 8-2 advantage on the Razorbacks.

The hit parade continued for Centenary the following inning when Davis hit his first home run of the season. Recently moving into the starting lineup at first base, Davis took a 2-1 pitch over the left-field wall to extend the Gent lead to 9-2.

Saenz and Santiago both got on base to follow Davis, with Saenz scoring on a sacrifice bunt by DeRooy.

Leading 10-4 in the bottom of the fourth inning, both Santiago and DeRooy scored when Darr reached on a throwing error by Arkansas second baseman Matt Willard. With the ball sharply hit to Willard at second, the sophomore’s throw to first took first baseman Danny Hamblin off of the bag, allowing Santiago and DeRooy to score. If fielded cleanly, the inning would’ve been over for the Razorbacks.

Arkansas began its comeback in the sixth, scoring five runs to cut the Gent lead to 12-9.

The following inning, the Razorbacks took the wind from Centenary’s sails, scoring seven runs to lead 16-12.

In the seventh, freshman Tim Smalling, junior Ben Tschepikow and junior Sean Jones all singled to lead off the inning, loading the bases for junior outfielder Jacob Julius. Julius responded with a hit at just the right moment, hitting a single to right to score two runs for the Razorbacks and cut the deficit to just a run.

A passed ball by the Gents allowed Jones to score from third to tie the game for Arkansas.

After Razorback Casey Coon scored on a balk by Centenary pitcher Johnny Noland (Aliso Viejo, Calif.), Hamblin hit a two-run homer to left to give Arkansas a 16-12 lead.

An illustration of McCann’s description of the poor performance by the Centenary bullpen, the Gents relievers allowed 12 runs over the sixth and seventh innings.

Webb hit solo home runs in the seventh and the ninth, but the Gents just couldn’t make up the difference over the final three innings.

For the game, Darr led the Gents with five RBI, while DeRooy finished with three RBI and two runs scored.

Not taking solace in the close loss to a nationally-ranked opponent, Webb said the second half of the season started with today’s game against the Razorbacks. With the senior belting two home runs Wednesday, going 3-for-4 at the plate, Webb said the team had extra motivation against the highly-regarded team from Arkansas.

"Butterflies were there and they had their fans coming in and cheering for them. That gives you a little fire in your belly," Webb said. "We just trying to be a championship team."

Webb and the Gents next face IPFW at Shehee Stadium March 30 in a four-game series.

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