On the bump with Cole Thompson
Monday, March 11, 2013

Hello Gents’ fans and welcome back to another edition of “On the Bump”. The last week has been very busy, but at the same time it was an extremely productive week. We managed to take two out of three games from Trinity, which was no easy task. During this version of the blog I will talk about our week of preparation leading up to Trinity, our three games with Trinity, and our upcoming series with Austin College.

On a personal note, I recently found out that I was accepted into the Master in Professional Accounting program at the University of Texas at Austin. I am very excited about it and I just wanted to thank everyone for their thoughts and congratulatory messages.

Tuesday’s practice was pretty intense as we kicked off our week of preparation for the Tigers. Coach Diaz put everyone on alert and let us know that nobody’s position was safe, and everyone needed to perform if they wanted to be a contributor in the games. Wednesday’s practice was predominately focused on hitting because our JV team was playing a road game. As a result, our starting lineup of hitters got a lot of extra work in. Thursday and Friday’s practices were solid as we wrapped up our preparation for our looming weekend series.

The first game on Saturday featured a pitcher’s duel between Layton Tromba and Trinity’s All-American Ryan Lucero. Unfortunately, the Tigers had the upper hand and won 3-0. Matt Creamer and Jemari James had our two hits on offense. Tromba threw well enough to keep us in the game and he did a great job of battling all day.

However, the second game on Saturday featured a reverse in fortune as we prevailed 11-1 in an eight-inning victory. Matt Creamer and Craig Littleman set the tone offensively as they both had a great day at the plate. Matt went 3-for-5 with two runs and three RBI while Craig went 3-for-4 with three runs scored. Nic Parrott provided a key two-run single, and Jemari James went 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI. Tyler Clakley did a great job of situational hitting as he had two sacrifice flies during the game. Freshman Zach Stephenson did a great job defensively at second base and also had a sacrifice fly. On the mound, Taylor Henry was awesome for us as he went all eight innings and did not allow an earned run. It was his first start of the year, so he stepped up for us and really came through in the clutch when we needed him.

Sunday’s game was significant because it would ultimately decide who would win the series. The game was a little bit of a statistical anomaly, as they outhit us 11-5, but we persevered and won 6-5. Ultimately, I think one of the difference makers was that we did not allow any walks or free passes while they put nine runners on base via walk or hit by pitch. I started on the mound for us, and Trinity jumped out to an early 3-0 lead, but I battled through it, and eventually our offense came around and put up a four run fourth inning. They tied it up 5-5 in the seventh inning, but Chase Clarke came into pitch and induced an inning ending double play ball to get us out of a jam. Craig Littleman’s RBI double in the bottom of the seventh inning proved to be the game-winning hit for us. Everyone in our lineup either had a run, hit, walk, or RBI, so it was definitely a team effort offensively. I want to reiterate how well Chase Clarke did in relief. The past two weeks he has come into tight games and done a great job of pitching out of tough situations. During my start I felt like I competed and gave us a chance to win while pitching deep into the game, which is what our coaches ask from our starters.

It was a great weekend of baseball as it was awesome to watch two talented teams square off for three games. Both teams made a few mistakes, but overall we were able to capitalize during crucial situations. I could tell that there was a high level of mutual respect between the two teams and I think it would be fair to say that there will be a civil, but competitive, rivalry between these two teams for years to come in the SCAC. We head to San Antonio in a few weeks for two games, and I can assure you that those will be very competitive ballgames as well.

On a side note, it was great to see coach Ed McCann, an assistant coach for Trinity. He was our head coach at Centenary during my freshman year, so it was really nice to catch up with him and see a familiar face.

This week we have a mid-week game at home against LeTourneau on Tuesday, and a three game series against Austin College this weekend in Sherman, Texas.  LeTourneau has started the season playing a high level of baseball, so we can’t overlook this non-conference game in anticipation for Austin College. Austin College is 5-4 in conference play so I know they will be looking to give us their best shot and vault themselves towards the top of the standings. It really is fun playing baseball this time of the year because teams are still trying to separate themselves from the rest of the pack, so every day you come to the yard you know you are going to get your opponent’s best shot.

Thank you to everyone who came out and supported us this past weekend against Trinity. Don’t forget to stop by on Tuesday at 6 PM to watch us take on LeTourneau. Until next week, go Gents!