SHREVEPORT, La. - The Diamond Gents led from the start in game one and held on for the 6-4 win behind a complete game from senior Kaleb Kirk, but the Tigers struck for two in the ninth and two in the 13th in game two as Centenary (23-14, 14-3 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference) fell to top-ranked Trinity (33-6, 14-3 SCAC) Saturday night, April 28, to force a winner-take-all game for the Conference Regular Season Championship.
In game one, Centenary raced out to a 6-1 lead and held on for the win. Tied at one in the bottom of the third, the Gents struck for three. Junior Andrew Russell singled and advanced to third on a sacrifice and passed ball. After sophomore Cody Crowder walked, a single by senior Chris Zapata broke the tie. Both moved up on a Crowder and Zapata moved up on a stolen base before an infield single by Graham and a throwing error by the Tigers plated both runners.
Graham recorded a hit in all four at bats with two RBIs in game one.
In the sixth with one out, senior Cole Lavergne drew a nine-pitch walk. A wild pitch, stolen base, and an error scored Lavergne. Freshman Peyton Cormane then walked, stole second, and scored on Crowder's two-out double.
Crowder finished the game 2-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI. Kirk (8-2) allowed 10 hits and four runs (three earned) for his 10th career complete game.
Trinity scored one in each of the last three innings. After a leadoff double in the ninth by Michael Goodrich, Trinity struck out and flew out. A walk and a Parker Cormack RBI single brought the go-ahead run to the plate, but a flyout to center field ended the game.
The win secured the Gents a top-2 seed in the 2018 SCAC Baseball Tournament next week.
Brendan Meyer (6-1) picked up his first loss of the season, allowing nine hits, six runs (five earned), five strikeouts, and four walks in six innings of work.
Centenary jumped out to a 3-0 lead in game two. In the first, Cormane walked, stole second, and scored on Crowder's RBI single. In the third, Crowder singled down the right field line, stole second, and scored on junior Cameron Guin's two-out hit.
Zapata led off the sixth with a double to deep center, moved to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a perfectly executed squeeze bunt by Graham.
Crowder finished the game 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.
Junior Matthew Devillier picked up the no decision, allowing eight hits and three runs in 8+ innings of work.
Trinity scored two in the ninth and two in the 13th for the win. In the ninth, Jack Wisniewski singled and scored on Parker Cormack's double on an 0-2 count. A sacrifice bunt and sacrifice fly tied the game. In the 13th, Wiesniewski tripled to left on a misplayed ball. A sacrifice fly scored the go-ahead run. Two hits up the middle put Tigers on the corner, and a little dink hit to the left of the mound by John Tucker put the visitors in the lead by two.
Cormack finished the game 3-for-6 with two runs scored and an RBI. Jeff Lonnecker picked up the win in relief for the Tigers, allowing three hits and one run while striking out 12 in 9.2 innings of work. Corey Cater worked around a leadoff walk in the 13th for his third save of the season.
Lavergne (5-3) took the loss in relief, allowing seven hits and two runs in five innings of relief.
Centenary will celebrate senior day Sunday, April 29, as it goes for its third SCAC Regular Season Championship in the last four years against Trinity. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.