JACKSON, Miss. - The Diamond Gents rally in game one fell short, 5-4, before snapping their five-game skid with a 9-6 win in game two as Centenary (4-7) split a pair of seven-inning contests against Belhaven (4-5) Saturday, February 23.
The Diamond Gents never trailed in game two, scoring a pair of runs in both the second and third innings. In the second, sophomore Preston Ludwick walk and advanced to second on an infield single. After a double steal put a pair in scoring position, Ludwick scored on a passed ball. Senior Andrew Russell added an RBI single with two outs.
In the third with two outs and a runner at third, senior Cody Crowder hit an RBI double. After Crowder swiped third, Ludwick singled to extend the lead to 4-1.
After Belhaven scored a single run in the bottom of the third, Centenary blew the game open with three in the fourth. With two outs and a runner at third, sophomore Peyton Cormane plated a run with an RBI single before swiping second. Senior Charlie Allbritton followed with an RBI single before moving into scoring position on a Blazers' balk. Sophomore Chris Haggard followed with an RBI double.
Belhaven added three of its own in the bottom of the fourth, but Centenary responded with two more in the fifth. With two outs and runners at the corners, junior Bryce Kozeny laid down a sacrifice bunt. The Blazers were not able to get the out at home as Centenary went up 8-5. After a bunt single, a groundout by Russell scored another run.
In the seventh, Belhaven brought the tying run to the plate, but sophomore Austin Warner picked up his first collegiate save when he recorded a strikeout.
Sophomore Connor Cudd (1-0) picked up the win in relief for the Gents, allowing just three hits and one run in three innings of work. Ludwick paced Centenary offensively, going 2-for-3 with a walk, two runs scored, and an RBI.
Down 7-2 in the fourth, Belhaven scored three runs to pull within two. With one down and a runner at second, an error scored Logan Walters. After a bunt single, a base hit by Julyan Urena plated the second run. After a hit-by-pitch loaded the bases, a sacrifice fly by Justin Milam cut the lead to two.
Trip Benson hit a solo home run in the seventh to bring the home team within three, but Warner was able to shut down the Blazers for the save.
Milam led the Blazers from the plate, going 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored. Kyle Whittington (1-2) took the loss, allowing four hits and four runs (three earned) in 2.2 innings of work.
Game one saw Centenary hold leads of 1-0 and 3-2, but the Blazers scored single runs in each of the third, fourth, and fifth innings to hold off the Diamond Gents. Down 2-1 in the top of the second, freshman Coleton Hinkle singled, advanced to second on a groundout, and reached third on a wild pitch. A sacrifice bunt by freshman Brandon Griffin scored the tying run. In the third, Cormane led off the inning with a single, stole second, and scored after a pair of groundouts.
Later down 5-3 in the sixth, Crowder hit the first Centenary home run of the season with no one on base. However, the Diamond Gents could not score the tying run in the loss.
Crowder finished the game 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored. Freshman Dawson Crosby (0-1) took the loss, allowing two hits and two runs in two innings of relief.
Belhaven scored two runs in the first and one in the third, fourth, and fifth to hold on for the win. Hunter Sanford (2-0) picked up the win for the Blazers, allowing five hits and three runs (two earned) in five innings of work.
Centenary returns to action Sunday morning, February 24, in Jackson, Mississippi against Millsaps. The game is to be played at Belhaven and first pitch is scheduled for 11 a.m.