Gents unable to keep up with Pilots offense
Wednesday, April 25, 2012

SHREVEPORT – Centenary proved its resilience Tuesday night against NAIA’s No. 1 team with a six-run seventh inning in game one and an extra-inning contest in game two, but the Pilots potent offense proved too much for the Gents as LSUS took both games of the day’s doubleheader 15-11 and 10-7 (8 innings) in college baseball action.

The Gents dip to 23-14 after wrapping up home play and head into the season finale against LeTourneau Thursday with a doubleheader, both seven-inning games, starting at 5 p.m. LSUS improves to 44-4 with the two wins.

Kyle Morton, Ryan Gasporra and Matt Creamer all had home runs for Centenary, but the Pilots tallied 25 hits on the day, just edging the Gents 21 base knocks.

Lance Nugent (7-3) took the loss in the nightcap after tossing 4 1/3, the most of all three pitchers used, giving up four runs on four hits. Three of those four runs came in the final frame after seeing three lead changes. Jake Kight improved to 3-0 after 1 2/3 innings, allowing Jared Mortensen to toss the final frame to earn his second save of the year.

LSUS struck first in the nightcap with two in the first, both unearned thanks to two fielding miscues, but Creamer (3-for-4, two runs) popped his first home run of the season in the bottom half to pull within 2-1. Jeff Schaffert knotted the game at 2-2 with a double down the left line, scoring Tyler Clakley, who followed Creamer’s homer with a walk.

Ryan Gasporra gave the Gents their first lead of the day with a one-out walk, scoring Dan Lazarou to put Centenary on top 3-2 in the second. Clakley reached on an error with the bases loaded which scored Craig Littleman and Creamer, both unearned, pushing the Gents up 5-2.

Littleman used a two-out RBI double to right center to score Lazarou from first after he walked.

Two wild pitches by Taylor Henry and Cole Thompson in the fourth allowed the Pilots to trim the lead to 6-4 before a sacrifice fly and the Gents third error crossed two more to even the game at 6-6.

Devin Greco recaptured the lead for LSUS with a leadoff homer in the fifth, 7-6, his fifth of the year. The Gents threatened in the fifth, but left the bases loaded on a Clakley groundout to short.

Centenary used the Pilots second error to knot things at 7-7 in the bottom of the sixth, and nearly stole the lead again, but pinch runner Timmy Chhor was thrown out at the plate which would have been the go-ahead run.

The Pilots took a 6-0 lead after the first inning of game one, forcing start Nic Parrott (2-2) off the mound after just 2/3 innings. Greg Friesen capped a three-run second inning for the No. 1 Pilots with a three-run homer to right center, his 11th of the year, to push the lead to 9-0.

Parrott took the loss in the quick outing, the first of six Gents pitchers. Drew Middleton stayed perfect on the mound, improving to 5-0 after giving up two hits and two hits in five innings. Jeremy Breaux tossed the sixth before Josh Stephenson closed the seventh.

Trey Lavespere tossed the next 1 2/3 innings, stifling the Pilots bats until the bottom of the fourth when the top-ranked team put four straight batters on with two outs, taking advantage of two Centenary fielding errors. LSUS plated three more in the frame to extend their already-wide lead to 12-0.

Morton highlighted the Gents offense after Tyler Clakley singled to center field, smashing his team-best ninth home run of the year to cut the lead to 12-2.

The high-octane Pilots offense tacked on one more in the fifth and two in the sixth for its biggest lead of the game at 15-2. Morton (3-for-4, three RBIs) followed with a two-run triple in the sixth, driving in four of the Gents six runs in game one. Schaffert and Littleman used sacrifice flies in the sixth and seventh innings, respectively, before Gasporra cranked his eighth homer, a two-run blast, to pull within 15-8, the closest margin since the second inning.

The Gents rally continued when Schaffert just missed a three-run homer, doubling off the right-center wall to score Clakley, moving Morton to first after the two hit consecutive singles. James hit a two-RBI single down the right line, scoring Morton and Schaffert to slice the lead to 15-11, but the six-run, seventh-inning rally stopped there as the Pilots held off the persistent Gents.