CLEBURNE, Texas – Falling behind 11-3, the Diamond Gents rallied and pulled within one, but the Pirates were able to hold on for the win as Centenary (18-23-1) fell to Southwestern (24-19) 11-10 in an elimination game at the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament Saturday afternoon, May 4.
Trailing 11-3 in the seventh, Brandon Griffin singled and Tyler Welch doubled to lead off the frame. Tyler Erickson added a sacrifice fly and Andrew Russell hit an RBI single to bring the Diamond Gents within six.
In the eighth, the Gents scored four to pull within two. Two walks and a single by Preston Ludwick loaded the bases with no outs. Griffin cut the deficit to four with a single to drive in a pair of runs. A wild pitch plated another run before a pinch hit, RBI single by Shane Salzman brought Centenary within two. However, a groundball double play ended the Centenary threat.
In the ninth with one out, Chris Haggard was hit by a pitch and advanced to second on Cody Crowder's single. Ludwick followed with an RBI single, but Crowder was thrown out at third for the second out. A flyout ended the ballgame.
Welch led Centenary from the plate with three hits, a run, and an RBI, while Griffin added two hits, two runs scored, and two RBI.
After Southwestern took a 2-1 lead in the top of the third, Centenary scored a pair in the bottom of the inning. Erickson and Russell started the inning with singles and a stolen base put a pair of runners in scoring position. A sacrifice fly and an RBI single by Crowder put the Gents back in the lead.
However, Southwestern took the lead for good with a six-run fifth. With two outs and runners on the corners, Colby Schmidt singled to tie the game. Ethan Hallmark walked to load the bases before Seth Sparks drove in a pair with a single. Chase Thinger hit an RBI single before a wild pitch scored a run. Ted Lebkowicz capped the inning with an RBI single.
Southwestern added three more in the sixth to open up an 11-3 lead. Schmidt drove in a pair with a double before Hallmark added an RBI single.
Everyone in Southwestern's starting lineup recorded a hit, led by Schmidt with three hits, four RBI, and two runs scored. Colton Hunter (7-2) picked up the win for the Pirates, allowing 10 hits and seven runs in seven innings of work. Daniel Montgomery threw the final two innings for his first save of the season.
Connor Lee (0-1) took the loss for Centenary, while Josh McLean threw 3.2 scoreless innings and allowed one hit to finish the game. In 6.2 innings of work for the tournament, he allowed just a hit with four strikeouts.