LOS ANGELES – The Diamond Gents began its annual California trip by handing the Tigers its first loss of the season, 8-4, but Centenary (6-8) fell in game two to Occidental (9-1), 9-0, Sunday afternoon, March 9 in Los Angeles.
Deadlocked at five heading to the fifth inning, Centenary took advantage of two key errors to score six unearned runs. Freshman Shane Salzman began the inning when he reached on an error before junior Cody Crowder walked. After both runners moved up on a sacrifice bunt, a wild pitch scored Salzman to give the Diamond Gents back the lead. Sophomore Peyton Cormane followed with an RBI groundball to first that scored Crowder, but another Tigers' miscue allowed Cormane to reach. After a flyout and a pair of walks loaded the bases with two outs, senior Cameron Guin drew an RBI walk. With the bases loaded, junior Bryce Kozeny followed with a single that cleared the bases to finish the inning.
Kozeny led Centenary from the plate, going 2-for-3 with three RBIs and a run scored. Haggard went 2-for-4 with a pair of runs scored.
Centenary took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second. With two outs and no one on base, Kozeny singled, advanced to second on a balk, and scored on Salzman's RBI single.
Meanwhile, the Centenary pitching staff were able to keep a Tigers offense averaging 6.5 runs a game off balance. Freshman Matt Parker (1-0) picked up the win, allowing five hits and three runs in five innings of work. Freshman Will Kappler picked up a four-inning save, allowing one run on two hits with three strikeouts.
After Occidental scored a run in the bottom of the third to tie the game, Reid Gibbs hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth.
Will Martel (0-1) took the loss, allowing seven runs (one earned) and five hits in five innings of work. Gibbs led the Tigers from the plate, recording a hit in all three at-bats with three RBI's and a run scored.
Occidental scored the first nine runs of game two to achieve the split with the Diamond Gents. Sophomore Preston Ludwick hit his first collegiate home run in the ninth for the lone Centenary run.
The Tigers scored four runs in the second to take control early. With one out, Jake Fredrickson was hit by a pitch before infield singles by Gus Patrick and Caleb Reyes loaded the bases. A fielder's choice produced the second out, but scored the first run of the game for the home team. Gibbs added a two-out, RBI single before a double by Antonio Andrade scored a pair.
Fredrickson later added a solo home run while Gibbs added a sacrifice fly in the fourth.
Sophomore Andy Purpura (0-1) took the loss, allowing seven hits and six earned runs in 3.1 innings of work.
Gibbs led Occidental from the plate, going 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored. Diego Ramirez (1-0) picked up the win, allowing six hits while striking out three in six innings of work. Nolan McCarthy allowed a solo home run for the three inning save.
Centenary returns to action Tuesday, March 5, with an afternoon game at Whittier. First pitch is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. (2:30 PST).