Gents Earn Trip to Mid-Con Tournament With Sweep
Saturday, May 19, 2007

Files associated with this release:
Box Score - Game 1
Box Score - Game 2

Jeremy Sheehan earned his seventh
win of the year Saturday

SHREVEPORT, La. -- Centenary (25-29, 8-11) punched its ticket to the Mid-Continent Conference Tournament with its sweep of Saturday’s doubleheader against Oakland (20-33, 5-14) at Shehee Stadium.

The Gents earned a 5-1 win in Game 1 Saturday, coming back to win Game 2 by a score of 2-1.

By way of its Saturday sweep of Oakland and Valparaiso’s three wins thus far this weekend against Southern Utah, Centenary is locked into the No. 4 seed in the Mid-Con Tournament, played Thursday to Saturday at Boyer Stadium, in Macomb, Ill.

The Gents face 2007 Mid-Con Regular Season Champions Oral Roberts to start off play in next week’s conference tournament.

Sweeping Saturday’s doubleheader after falling in the series-opener Friday showed what the Gents are truly made of, according to Centenary head coach Ed McCann.

"I talked all year long about chemistry. These guys were so loose (prior to Game 1) and it speaks volumes about our kids and our program (earning the Saturday sweep)," McCann said.

Leading the way for the Gents in Saturday’s sweep was the hitting of senior outfielder Justin Huff (Beaumont, Texas) and the pitching of starters Jeremy Sheehan (Bonner Springs, Kan.) and Will Kaage (Burlington, Wash.), along with reliever Dakota Robinson (Bossier City, La.).

Huff led the Gents with three hits Saturday, registering four of the team’s seven RBI.

Sheehan drew individual praise from McCann for his performance in Game 2.

"Sheehan settled down after giving up the one run and he was the man," McCann said. "He dealt and located."

Now in the conference tournament, the Gents prepare to celebrate the careers of seven seniors who play the final home game of their collegiate careers Sunday.

As Centenary made the tournament for the fourth consecutive season, McCann said his team was playing for the seniors in Saturday’s doubleheader.

"It’s owed to the Check’s (Fulenchek) and the Kaage’s of this world that we make the tournament. I’ll be forever grateful for those kids for what they’ve done for the program," McCann said.

Sunday’s home finale is scheduled for a noon start.

Game 1 - Centenary 5, Oakland 1

Five feet.

Five feet was the difference between Oakland tying the game and Centenary holding onto its one-run lead in the middle innings.

The play of the game came in the top of the fifth when Oakland first baseman Ryan Heath flew out to right with runners at second and third. With Heath’s fly ball registering the second out of the inning, Oakland DH Rob Merkle tested the arm of Centenary rightfielder Matt Webb (Blue Springs, Mo.) tagging from third and going for home.

Webb, possessing one of the best arms on the Gents, hurled a screamer from right, hitting Centenary catcher Alex Maldonado (Whittier, Calif.) on the fly and right on the button. Maldonado fielded the pitched and tagged Merkle five feet away from home plate.

If Merkle had scored the game would’ve been tied at 2-2.

The Gents rode the momentum of Webb’s throw, adding a run an inning later to take a 3-1 lead on the Golden Grizzlies.

Centenary sealed the victory in the eighth, scoring two runs to extend the lead to four.

Juniors Teddy Saenz (San Jose, Calif.) and Cameron Penney (Valley Center, Calif.) both got on to lead off the eighth, both moved over a base by senior Justin Darr’s (The Woodlands, Texas) sacrifice bunt.

After Webb was intentionally walked to load the bases, Oakand reliever Scott Boleski hit Maldonado to score Saenz from third.

Huff followed Maldonado with a bases-loaded single to center, scoring Penney and racking up the fifth run for the Gents.

Kaage picked up the win for the Gents, earning his third victory of the season. Kaage struck out three over 5 1/3 innings, allowing seven hits and the lone Oakland run.

Relieving Kaage in the sixth, Robinson allowed just two hits over the final three innings of the contest to earn his second career save.

The freshman reliever was sterling in his relief effort to allow the Gents to build on the lead in the late innings. Striking out two over 3 2/3 innings, Robinson allowed just one base runner to reach second.

Darr and Huff both went 2-for-3 in Game 1 of the doubleheader, with Huff leading the team with three RBI.

Game 2 - Centenary 2, Oakland 1

In Game 2 Saturday, the pitching effort put forth by Sheehan showed it’s not how you start, but how you finish.

After allowing three hits and one run in the first inning to the Golden Grizzlies, Sheehan took over the game and scattered three hits over the final six innings to pick up his seventh win of the season.

In the first, Oakland infielder Andrew Stafford hit an RBI-single up the middle to score Heath from second, giving the Golden Grizzlies the early lead.

Not deterred by the early offense from Oakland, Sheehan allowed just one hit over the second and third innings, allowing Centenary to tie the game in the fourth on a Huff single up the middle.

Webb drew a walk in the fourth to put the tying run on. After stealing second, Webb tied the game with Huff’s fourth RBI of the day.

Centenary took the lead an inning later when junior Calvin Sanchez (Santa Cruz, Calif.) scored on a Penney RBI-single to center. Penney looped an inside-fastball to center to score Sanchez from second and give the Gents the 2-1 lead.

Carrying a one-run lead, Sheehan induced three grounders in the sixth, ending the game with a pop-up to Nate Santiago (Mukilteo, Wash.) in the seventh.

Asked if he changed his approach after the first, Sheehan said he was just pitching off of emotion.

"I was just going off of drive for our seniors," Sheehan said. "This one was for the seniors so we can keep going."

The junior struck out three in the complete-game victory.

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