Huff's Eight RBI Leads Gents to 14-7 Win
Friday, April 27, 2007

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Huff hit a grand slam in the 7th
to lead Centenary to the 14-7 win

MACOMB, Ill. -- Sporting a pair of "magic shoes", senior Justin Huff recorded eight RBI in Centenary’s (19-21, 2-3) 14-7 drubbing of Western Illinois (25-17, 6-3) at Boyer Stadium Friday.

Leaving his regular, size-eight baseball spikes in Shreveport by accident, Huff borrowed the size-12 cleats of Centenary junior pitcher Johnny Noland (Aliso Viejo, Calif.) for Friday’s game. After his best offensive output of the 2007 season, Huff may want to hold onto the cleats of Noland.

The Beaumont, Texas, native was one off of the Centenary record for RBI in a game with his eight, which included a grand slam in the seventh that blew the game wide open.

Huff, who was moved down in the Gent order in Friday’s game, said the grand slam may have been the difference in the game, as Centenary took an 11-2 lead after the seventh.

"Coach McCann always talks about stepping on an opponents’ neck when you have a chance," Huff said. "We needed to put them away and prevent them from catching us."

In regards to using Noland’s shoes in the game, the senior outfielder had to kick the toes of the boots at each at-bat, just to be able to use the oversized cleats.

Huff went 3-for-4 in the game with two runs scored.

Falling behind in the first after Travis Check hit a two-run homer to give Western Illinois a 2-0 lead, Centenary used runs in the second and third to tie the game at 2-2.

The Gents took the lead in the fifth after junior Teddy Saenz (San Jose, Calif.) and senior Nate Santiago (Mukilteo, Wash.) got on to start the inning. Saenz scored from second when Santiago reached on a fielding error by Leatherneck pitcher Quinn Leath.

After junior Alex Maldonado (Whittier, Calif.) moved Santiago to second with a sacrifice bunt, junior Cameron Penney (Valley Center, Calif.) hit an RBI-single to right, scoring Santiago and giving Centenary a 4-2 lead.

Two more runs were scored in the sixth off of RBI’s by Saenz and Santiago, who combined to go 4-for-12 in the game atop of the Centenary order, but the knockout blow came in the seventh, keyed by Huff’s grand slam.

Penney led off the inning with a double to left-center, followed by senior Justin Darr (The Woodlands, Texas) getting hit by a pitch and senior Matt Webb (Blue Springs, Mo.) drawing a walk to load the bases.

With the bases juiced, Gent freshman infielder Garret DeRooy (Duvall, Wash.) drew a walk off of Western Illinois pitcher Bryan Faulds to score Penney and extend the lead to 7-2 in favor of Centenary.

As the bases were still loaded, Huff took a Frank Zenisek pitch over the center-field wall for his first home run of the season, ending all chances of a Western Illinois comeback.

Huff said there was a difference in the team in Friday’s game.

"I think we were a little more calm and we seemed like we were having more fun," Huff said. "One thing we got to do over the weekend is keep our heads high and keep picking each other up, even if we’re down."

Penney also ended the game with three hits to tie Huff for the team lead, going 3-for-6 from the plate with two RBI and one run scored.

Picking up his league-leading seventh win of the season, Centenary senior left-hander Brandon Fulenchek (McKinney, Texas) pitched seven innings, allowing six hits and two runs. Fulenchek remains on a streak of five-straight starts without a loss, striking out five Western Illinois batters. He left the game with an 11-2 lead.

Centenary looks for a continuation of Friday’s good fortunes in Saturday’s doubleheader against the Leathernecks. Scheduled for a noon start, the Gents start Jeremy Sheehan (Bonner Springs, Mo.) and Will Kaage (Burlington, Wash.) in Saturday’s two games.

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