Gents Open Mid-Con Play With 6-2 Win Over Valparaiso
Friday, April 20, 2007


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Brandon Fulenchek picked up
a complete-game win Friday

VALPARAISO, Ind. -- Centenary (18-18, 1-0) started off Mid-Continent Conference play with a bang Friday, defeating Valparaiso (11-20, 0-1), 6-2, at Bauer Field. Senior Brandon Fulenchek earned a complete-game victory over the Crusaders.

Picking up his second complete-game conference victory of his collegiate career, Fulenchek was on in the conference-opener for the Gents. The Mid-Con leader in wins this season (6), Fulenchek started his final conference season with a 123-pitch effort, not allowing a run over the first six innings and helping Centenary build a 6-0 lead.

Asked what was key in Fulenchek’s performance Friday, Centenary head coach Ed McCann pointed to Fulenchek’s ability to locate.

"He’s growing up, he’s mature and he’s a senior," McCann said of Fulenchek. "He located all game and got us out of a lot of jams."

For the game, the McKinney, Texas, native struck out five and stranded seven Valparaiso batters over nine innings.

At the plate, the damage was done by the bottom of the order for the Gents.

With the efforts of infielders Garret DeRooy (Duvall, Wash.), Teddy Saenz (San Jose, Calif.) and Nate Santiago (Mukilteo, Wash.) complemented by McCann, the last three batters of the Centenary lineup combined to go 5-for-11 (.455) in Friday’s game with four RBI.

"I’ll be honest with you, the bottom of the lineup won the game for us," McCann said. "They had a lot of two-out hits and just performed for us."

Scoreless over the first three innings of Friday’s series-opener, Centenary broke out with five runs in the fourth inning. What made the runs in the fourth special for the Gents was that all were scored with two outs already on the board.

In the fourth, Centenary junior infielder Cameron Penney (Valley Center, Calif.) hit a two-out double to left, moving a runner into scoring position for fellow-junior Alex Maldonado (Whittier, Calif.). Maldonado, who went 2-for-4 in Friday’s game, delivered with a double to right-center to score Penney and give the Gents a 1-0 lead.

After Maldonado scored on a DeRooy double to right-center, Saenz brought home two more runs with a single to center. The Saenz hit extended Centenary’s lead to 4-0.

Santiago would produce the final run of the big fourth inning for Centenary, hitting an RBI-single up the middle with a 1-2 count.

The five runs scored in the fourth inning set a new season-high for the Gents for runs scored with two outs.

Now sitting with a five-run cushion, Fulenchek took rein of the game, allowing just a single hit and no runs over the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. The senior left-hander tied a season-high with 123 pitches in the four-run win.

Penney, who leads the Gents with 45 hits this season, had a breakout effort in his first Mid-Con game of his collegiate career. The junior went 3-for-5 to lead the team in hits, scoring one run.

Saenz went 2-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored, while Santiago went 2-for-4 with an RBI in the Mid-Con opener.

In the loss for Valparaiso, Elliott Gibbs pitched 4 1/3 innings, allowing seven hits and six runs. Gibbs struck out five batters and walked two.

Centenary looks to stay on track against the Crusaders, facing Valparaiso in a Saturday doubleheader at Bauer Field. Game 1 of the doubleheader is set for a noon start.