SHREVEPORT, La. – The Diamond Gents offense used timely hitting small ball to take leads, while the pitching staff recorded key outs in a Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference doubleheader sweep of the Mountaineers as Centenary (15-17-1, 7-4 SCAC) won game one 4-1 before downing Schreiner (10-19, 3-5 SCAC) 6-4 in game two in a twinbill Friday afternoon, April 5.
With the sweep, Centenary clinched its ninth-straight home SCAC series win and has now won 11 straight against the Mountaineers.
In game one, the Gents scored four runs and held on for the victory. Sophomore Andy Purpura (1-2) picked up the win, allowing six hits and an unearned run for the victory. The Gents defense helped Purpura out with groundball double plays in both the first and third innings.
The Gents took the lead for good in the bottom of the first. Junior Cody Crowder singled and stole second. With two out, senior Cameron Guin legged out an infield single and Crowder never stopped at third and motored home.
In the two games combined, the nation's leaders in stolen bases swiped nine as a team to go above 100 for the season.
In the fifth, junior Bryce Kozeny singled up the middle, was sacrificed to second, stole third, and scored when senior Andrew Russell caught the Mountaineers defense off balance with a bunt single on a squeeze attempt.
After Schreiner scored an unearned run in the top of the seventh, Centenary scored a pair of insurance runs in the seventh and eighth, In the seventh, freshman Brandon Griffin singled, was sacrificed to second, and scored on freshman Shane Salman's double. In the eighth, Crowder walked, stole second, advanced to third on a single, and scored on a squeeze bunt by Guin.
Crowder finished the game with a hit, two runs scored, and two stolen bases to lead the Diamond Gents. Sophomore Connor Cudd allowed just a hit in the final 2.1 innings to earn his first save of the season.
Schreiner's lone run came in the seventh. With one out and two on base, a wild pitch looked as if the Mountaineers would put the tying run in scoring position. However, Salzman pounced on the ball behind the plate and threw down to third. Chance Goins was initially safe, but he slid past the bag and Haggard applied the tag for the second out. However, a throwing error on a topper back to the mound by Sam Velasquez plated the lone Mountaineers run. Cudd then came in the game in relief and gave up a walk, but a foul fly to the Gents bullpen was caught by Kozeny to end the Schreiner threat.
Devin Hooper (3-4) took the loss for Schreiner, allowing seven hits and three runs in seven innings of work.
In game two, the Gents used single tally in 6-of-8 innings for the win. In the first, Crowder singled, swiped two bases, and scored on sophomore Preston Ludwick's single. In the second tied at one, Guin reached on a fielder's choice and swiped two bags. He scored on Kozeny's sacrifice fly. Tied again in the top of the third, Centenary took the lead for good in the bottom of the third. With two outs, Crowder tripled on a misplaced ball by the right fielder and scored on Ludwick's single. In the fourth with one on base and two out, Guin advanced to third on Salzman's single to left center. A passed ball put the Gents up two.
The Gents scored an important run in both the sixth and seventh. In the sixth with runners in the corners and no outs. Kozeny laid down a sacrifice, but it was a little too hard and advanced the other runner to second. Salzman tried a squeeze, and this time it was successful as Griffin scored.
Freshman Jake Ryan added a sacrifice fly for the final Gents run in the seventh.
The Mountaineers had already tied the game in the third and had the bases loaded with no outs, but sophomore Tyler Welch came out of the bullpen and got out of the jam with no runs scoring. With two on base and no outs, Josh Gillam laid down a bunt that bounced off the plate that Salzman grabbed. The ball looked to be foul, but Salzman threw wild to third. The ball skipped into leftfield to allow the tying run to score. Freshman Matt Parker was lifted after giving up a walk to load the bases, but Welch got two flyouts and a groundout the strand three runners.
Welch allowed a two-run home run to Osman Quintana in the ninth while Welch and Cudd allowed a walk each to put the tying runs on base. A sacrifice bunt put both runners into scoring position, but a comebacker to the mound produced an out with no run scoring. However, the runner at second got caught halfway between second and third. Ludwick slung the ball across the diamond to senior Andrew Russell, who applied the tag on the runner going back to second to complete the game-ending double play.
Crowder led the Gens offense with two hits, two runs, and three stolen bases. Welch (1-0) picked up the win, allowing three hits and two runs in six innings of relief work. Cudd picked up his second save off the season, allowing just a walk in the ninth inning.
Caleb Allen (1-2) took the loss for Schreiner, allowing nine hits and five runs (four earned).
Centenary and Schreiner wrap up the conference series Saturday, April 6, at 10 a.m.