CLEBURNE, Texas – The Diamond Gents battled back from a five-run deficit to pull within one, but a key double play by the Tigers ended the contest as third seeded Centenary (18-22-1) fell to second seeded and fourth ranked Trinity (31-9) 7-6 in the final game of day one of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament Friday night, May 3.
Just as a key leadoff error led to a 7-2 deficit being cut to two in the seventh, an error began things in the ninth. Tyler Erickson reached on a throwing error by the third baseman to bring the tying run to the plate. Andrew Russell followed with a high chopper to third. Trinity made no attempt to get Russell as the Gents now had the tying run on base. Chris Haggard singled through the left side to cut the deficit to one and put the tying run in scoring position. Cody Crowder followed with a flyout to centerfield, but the Tigers defense slow played the ball back into the infield and Russell moved up to third.
Preston Ludwick followed with a flyout to right. Russell took off for home to try and tie the game, but Trinity threw behind Haggard at first. The Tigers applied the tag before the runner from third could score to end the ballgame.
Russell finished the game with a pair of hits and two RBI while Haggard scored a run and added an RBI.
With the Gents down 7-2 in the seventh, a throwing error to lead off the inning allowed Welch to take second. After Charlie Allbritton walked, a high chopper to the pitcher moved both runners into scoring position. Russell followed with an RBI single to score a pair of runs. A hit by pitch and a walk loaded the bases before an RBI groundout by Ludwick cut the deficit to 7-5.
Trinity took a lead in the bottom of the first when the first two batters reached and Rafe Chaumette hit a three run home run to left off of Andy Purpura (2-3). Centenary got on the board in the third when Erickson singled, took second on an error, moved to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Russell.
After a 2:27 lightning delay before the top of the fourth, a pair of walks and a sacrifice bunt moved the tying runs into scoring position. An RBI groundout by Brandon Griffin cut the deficit to 3-2.
Trinity scored two in the fourth and fifth to build a 7-2 lead. Josh McClean came in for the Diamond Gents and threw three hitless innings, allowing just a walk and a pair of strikeouts.
For Trinity, Jack Wisniewski added an RBI single in the fourth. Later, with runners on the corners, Wiesniewski was thrown out trying to steal second. However, the runner from third scored. In the fifth, Brannen Caraway drew a bases loaded walk and before Dalys Binder drove in a run with a sacrifice fly.
Jeff Lonnecker (4-1) picked up the win for Trinity, allowing five runs (two earned) and four hits with four walks in 6.1 innings of work.
Centenary returns to action in an elimination game against fourth seeded Southwestern at 3:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon, May 4. The winner takes on the loser of Texas Lutheran and Trinity in another elimination game at 7 p.m.