Key Two Out Hits, Strong Eight Innings from Kirk Pushes Diamond Gents Past Southwestern

Key Two Out Hits, Strong Eight Innings from Kirk Pushes Diamond Gents Past Southwestern

SHREVEPORT, La. - It took a few innings for the Gents offense to get going in its Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference home opener, but four runs in the middle frames and a strong outing for senior Kaleb Kirk (6-1) gave Centenary (16-9, 7-0 SCAC) a 6-1 win against Southwestern (12-12, 5-5 SCAC) Thursday night, April 5.

After being retired in order in the first three innings, the Gents finally got to Southwestern starter Colton Hunter in the fourth. Freshman Peyton Cormane drew a walk to leadoff the frame. With two down and sophomore Cody Crowder at first, junior Cameron Guin singled to right to move Crowder to third. A balk scored the first run of the game before senior Ian Graham dropped a single in front of the right fielder to score Guin from second.

The Gents took a 3-0 lead in the fifth when junior Andrew Russell was hit by a pitch, stole second, and scored on senior Cole Lavergne's single to right.

Meanwhile, the Pirates could not advance a runner past second base in the first and fourth. In the fifth with Ethan Hallmark at second, Jason McCormack hit an infield single just to the right of second base. Cormane gloved it and alertly threw home as senior Chris Zapata tagged out McCormack trying to score.

In the sixth, a bloop double by Crowder down the leftfield line and a smash to the left center gap by Graham put the Gents up 4-0. Centenary expanded the lead to 6-0 in the eighth. Zapata walked, stole second and third, and scored on Andrew Russell's hit. Later with Graham at third, an error by the shortstop scored another run.

Kirk picked up the win, allowing six hits and one run while striking out eight in eight innings of work. The victory was Kirk's 29th career victory, which moves him into a tie for fourth all-time in conference history.

Graham led Centenary from the plate, going 2-for-3 with two RBI's and a run scored.

Southwestern scored its lone run in the ninth. After three walks loaded the bases, Lavergne took the mound and closed out the game. After a fielder's choice by Austin Smith scored a run, Lavergne got a pair of Pirates looking to end the ballgame.

Hunter took the loss for Southwestern, allowing six hits and six runs (five earned) while striking out six in 7.2 innings of work.

Centenary returns to action Friday, April 6, with a scheduled doubleheader with Southwestern. Due to inclement weather expected in the Shreveport area, game times will not be determined until tomorrow morning.