SHREVEPORT, La. - Senior Kaleb Kirk may have allowed his first run of the season, but that did not stop him from inching closer to Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference history. Kirk went seven innings and allowed just one earned run on seven hits while striking out seven as Centenary (6-1) beat LeTourneau (2-2) 4-1 Thursday night, February 15, at Shehee Stadium.
Kirk (3-0) notched his 26th career win, which moved him into 10th place in that category in conference history.
With the Gents trailing 1-0 heading to the bottom of the third, an infield double helped spark a rally to give the Maroon and White the lead for good. Senior Cole Lavergne led off the inning and skied a ball to the pitcher's mound. With the pitcher slow to vacate the area, the YellowJackets could not locate the ball as Lavergne hustled out of the box for a double. After a sacrifice bunt and a walk to freshman Cade Lastovica, Lastovica swiped second and LeTourneau threw down. The ball got away from the middle infielders as Lavegne scored the tying run. Sophomore Cody Crowder then found the gap in right center for a double to score Lastovica and give the Gents the 2-1 advantage.
Both Crowder and Lavergne led Centenary offensively by going 2-for-4 with a double.
The Gents added another run in the fourth when freshman Peyton Cormane drew a two-out walk. He stole second and scored on a two-out throwing error by the YellowJackets.
Meanwhile, LeTourneau threatened in the fifth and sixth. After a walk and single to leadoff the fifth, a sacrifice bunt moved the tying runs into scoring position. However, Kirk snagged a comebacker to the mound and a induced a groundout to end the threat. A one-out infield single and a two-out base hit and walk loaded the bases for LeTourneau in the sixth, but Kirk got out of the jam with a strikeout.
Centenary added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth. Senior Ian Graham led off the inning with a double and moved to third when an error on a sacrifice bunt attempt put Gents on the corners. A sacrifice bunt moved the trail runner into scoring position. After a strikeout, Lavergne surprised the defense with a bunt single between the pitcher's mound and third that scored the final run of the game.
Freshman Cole Godkin threw a scoreless final two innings for Centenary for his first collegiate save.
LeTourneau threatened in the third, but a key double play limited the YellowJackets to a single run. Jacob Jones led off the inning with a single up the middle and stole second. With one out, Kirk was able to get another strikeout, but a wild pitch allowed the batter to reach and put runners on the corners with one out. Eli Birriel singled to score the first run of the ballgame, but Kirk grabbed a ground ball right back to the mound and started the 1-4-3 double play.
LeTourneau actually outhit the Gents, 11-8, but the visitors were 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position in the game. Jones, Gonzalo Sosa, and Bubba Valdez all went 2-for-4, while Birriel went 2-for-5 with an RBI. Bryce Brueggemeyer (0-2) took the loss, allowing eight hits and four runs (two earned) with two strikeouts in 6.1 innings pitched.
Centenary is scheduled to return to action Saturday, February 17, against Whitworth. First pitch in Tyler, Texas, is scheduled for 4 p.m. However, rain is in the forecast all weekend, so fans are encouraged to log in to the Centenary athletic web site and the Centenary Twitter account (@GoCentenary) for updates.