CLEBURNE, Texas - The Diamond Gents scored the game-tying run in the bottom of the ninth, but the Pirates pushed across a run in the top of the 10th as Centenary (24-15) fell to Southwestern (18-22) 3-2 in 10 innings in the first round of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament Friday afternoon, May 4.
Trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth with one out, freshman Preston Ludwick battled back from a 1-2 count to draw a walk. Classmate Chris Haggard followed with a screamer off the pitcher's glove for an infield hit. Junior Andrew Russell followed with a grounder up the middle, but the throw was late to second and a wild throw to first allowed junior pinch runner Charlie Allbritton to score the tying run. However, a strikeout on a suicide squeeze resulted in a caught stealing to end the Centenary threat.
Centenary cut the deficit to 2-1 in the sixth. Freshman Peyton Cormane led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on a flyout. Senior Chris Zapata hit an RBI single to left center to score the first Gents run.
Cormane and Zapata both led Centenary with a pair of hits. Senior Kaleb Kirk received a no-decision, allowing six hits and two runs in 8.1 innings of work, matching a season high with 10 strikeouts. Senior Cole Lavergne (5-4) took the loss, allowing two hits and one run in 1.2 innings of work.
With two outs in the fourth, Southwestern loaded the bases with a walk and two singles. Hayden Craig singled up the middle to plate a pair. In the top of the 10th with two outs and a runner at second, Colby Schmidt grounded hard to shortstop. It went off the Gents fielder and bounced away to allow Byron Dowdell to score the go-ahead run.
Austin Smith (4-1) picked up the win in relief for the Pirates, throwing the final four innings and allowing three hits and one unearned run while striking out four.
Centenary returns to action Saturday afternoon, May 5, against the loser of second-seeded Trinity and third-seeded Texas Lutheran. First pitch is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.