Bombs Away! Gents Power Past SDSU for 19-7 Game 1 Win
Friday, April 30, 2010
BROOKINGS, S.D.-An early offensive explosion by the Centenary baseball team gave way to a 19-7 win in seven innings over South Dakota State in Game 1 of the four-game Summit League series set on Friday afternoon.

The Gents connected on a season-best 18 hits and used a solid outing by right-hander Boone Whiting to improve to 10-2 in league play and 21-16 overall.

Producing five RBI, senior Cliff Shepard led the way offensively with a 3x5 effort, driving in five and scoring three along with belting one of the Gents' three home runs on the day.

Junior Alex Todd finished the day 3x4 with three runs scored and three RBI, while senior Michael Tompkins was 3x4 with two runs scored and an RBI and junior Keegan Acker was also 3x4 with a run scored and an RBI.

Senior Jeff Ericson (2x4, 2 R, 2 RBI) and junior Derek Dalzell (2x5, 2 R, 3 RBI) also had a strong day with two base knocks and driving in a few runs as Ericson homered. Junior Scott Pasket (1x3, 2 R, RBI) had a hit and sophomore Jeff Schaffert (1x4, 2 R, 3 RBI) belted a bomb as well.

Despite allowing eight hits, Whiting (5.1,8,7,7,4,6) earned the win after tossing 5.1 innings of work. The junior surrendered seven runs on eight hits and struck out six.

Centenary got things going in the second inning when Todd opened the frame with a double to left center. Ericson would then give the Gents a 2-0 lead with his third home run of the year to straight away center field.

The Jackrabbits threatened in the second inning when two hitters reached base on walks, though Whiting forced the final batter to ground into a double play, ending the chance to narrow the deficit.

A solid third inning offensively by the Gents put them up 8-0. After two consecutive outs, Centenary responded with six runs as Shepard started the rally with his team-leading 16th double of the season to right center. An infield single by Tompkins put runners at first and third for Todd, who doubled for the second time of the game, plating two.

Ericson kept the threat alive with a walk and Dalzell reached on a sharp single up the middle for Schaffert to belt his second home run of the season to dead center field. 

Acker continued his dominance in the lead off spot, reaching with a single to left field. Pasket drew a walk and Shepard belted his fourth bomb of the season to left center for three more runs.

Ahead 10-0, Centenary put together two more runs before recording an out when Tompkins found a hole through the right side and Todd was hit by the pitch. Ericson's single would load the bases for Dalzell's double down the left field line for a 12-0 advantage. Acker would see the plate for the second time in the inning, plating Schaffert on a sacrifice fly. Again, the Gents were impressive with two outs as Shepard, Tompkins and Todd all singled.

Whiting was equally impressive on the bump as he continued to shut down a powerful Jackrabbit offense, giving up the first hit in the latter half of the fourth. South Dakota State would put together three consecutive knocks to score two runs in that frame.

The fifth inning led to another two-out run when Pasket's single through the left side would plate freshman Ryan Bell who reached on a fielder's choice.

With a 19-2 lead, South Dakota State's Jesse Sawyer would homer to give the Jackrabbits their fifth hit of the game. The Jackrabbits would go on to plate four more runs to make it a 19-7 game through six innings.

Freshman Trey McGee (0.2,0,0,0,1,0) pitched in relief of Whiting, coming in with one out and no one out, retiring two consecutive batters on ground outs.

Senior Dakota Robinson (1.0,0,0,0,1,1) tossed 1.0 inning, reliving McGee who allowed the first two Jackrabbit batters to reach in the seventh. Robinson shut down the offense, allowing just one walk and fanning one.

South Dakota State starter Sam Pieczynski (3.0,8,8,8,1,4) suffered the loss after allowing eight runs on eight hits in 3.1 innings of work.

The Jackrabbits were led at the plate by Sawyer with a 2x2, two run, one-RBI performance.

Centenary and South Dakota State will continue its series on Saturday with a double-header beginning at Noon.