GEORGETOWN, Texas – The #6 Gents knew they were all on their own this weekend to try to wrap up their second Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Regular Season Championship in the last three seasons.
And just like in 2015, the Maroon and White took care of business on its own with a series sweep as Centenary (29-6, 15-3 SCAC) wrapped up the first seed in the Conference Tournament with a 5-2, game 1 win, taking the outright title with a vicotry in the nightcap against Southwestern (18-17, 7-8 SCAC) 12-2 in a doubleheader sweep Saturday afternoon, April 15.
With a win in game one, sophomore Matthew Devillier (10-0) broke the Gents single-season wins record and became just the 19th pitcher in SCAC history (and the first in four seasons) to win double-digit contests. He allowed one run and six hits in 6.2 innings of work.
Junior Chris Zapata continued his tear through Southwestern pitching this weekend, going 6-for-8 on the day (including a hit in all three at-bats in game one) with five RBI's and two runs scored, including a solo home run in game two and a double in game one. He started Saturday right where he left off on Friday, scoring a pair in the top of the first with a two-out double.
After Devillier allowed a run in the bottom of the first, no Southwestern player advanced past second base off of him. With two on and two outs in the seventh, with Centenary clinging to a 2-1 lead, junior Cole Lavergne came in for the strikeout. Lavergne allowed just one run in the bottom of the ninth to pick up his SCAC-leading sixth save of the season.
Ironically, Lavergne saved the game of the pitcher who managed six saves last season – the second-most for a single season in program history.
With the Gents able to escape damage in the seventh, Zapata added another two-out, two RBI single in the eighth to push the lead to 4-1. A sophomore Andrew Russell walk, two stolen bases, and an RBI double by sophomore Cameron Guin in the ninth pushed the lead to 5-1.
Southwestern scored a run and brought the tying run to the plate with one out in the ninth, but Lavergne slammed the door shut when he recorded his third strikeout and a pop up.
The Pirates lone run off of Deviller came in the first when with one out, Ethan Hallmark and Ben Little hit back-to-back doubles.
Jeremy Rice (4-5) took the loss for the Pirates, allowing five hits and two runs in seven innings of work.
With the first seed wrapped up and at least a share of the Conference Regular Season title at their disposal, the Gents offense came alive for a 12-2 win in game two. Scoreless after one, the Gents loaded the bases with one out. The Pirates looked like it would escape the inning unscathed with a strikeout and ground ball; however, the third baseman mishandled the ball to move up everyone 90 feet and score a run.
Following the mistake, Centenary did what they have done all season and make its opponents pay. Freshman Zane Wilkinson cleared the bases with a double, scoring himself on senior Aaron Quintanilla's two-out single.
Zapata added a solo shot in the third to push the lead to 6-0 after three.
Meanwhile junior Jackie Allen (4-3) threw a no-hitter through four innings. He allowed three hits and two runs in 6.1 innings. Lavergne threw a perfect final 2.2 innings to wrap up the title, striking out three.
After the home team struck for two in the fifth, the Gents bounced right back with two in the sixth, one in the seventh, and three in the ninth. Wilkinson drove in a pair with a single in the sixth and Lavergne provided a sacrifice fly in the seventh. Lavergne added an RBI double in the ninth, followed by a two-run shot by junior Connor Soblom – his first round tripper in a Gents uniform.
Southwestern scored all of its runs and recorded all of its hits in the fifth. Daniel Montgomery and Samuel Cox singled to put runners on the corners with no outs. An RBI bunt single by Ethan Widoff, and a sacrifice bunt, put two runners into scoring position. Hallmark added a sacrifice fly to left to score the second run, but a flyout ended the Pirates' threat.
Tyler Polasek (2-2) allowed five hits and five unearned runs in two innings of the work for the loss.
Centenary wraps up home play next Friday night, April 21, with a seven- and nine-inning doubleheader with Louisiana College. First pitch is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.