SHREVEPORT, La. - Prior to the 2018 season, banners were put up on the outfield wall of Shehee Stadium to honor the Diamond Gents and their recent Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference championships.
It did not take long for another one to be needed.
In a winner-take-all series finale with the #1 ranked team in the nation, the Gents rallied from an early 2-0 deficit to score nine of the last 10 runs of the ballgame as Centenary (24-14, 15-3 SCAC) knocked off Trinity (33-7, 14-4 SCAC) 9-3 on Sunday afternoon, April 29. The win gave Centenary its third SCAC Regular Season Championship in the last four seasons.
Winning its second consecutive title, the Gents have spent less than 48 hours in the last two seasons in the top spot in the conference.
Holding on to a slim 5-3 lead entering the bottom of the sixth, the Gents plated four key insurance runs. With one out and a runner at first, senior Cole Lavergne singled up the middle to put Gents on the corners. Freshman Peyton Cormane then laid down a bunt to easily score the runner from third, but an overthrow allowed Lavergne to score and Cormane to end up at second. Sophomore Cody Crowder then drew the count full, roping an RBI double to shallow left field on the 10th pitch of the at-bat. Crowder then swiped third and scored the ninth run of the game on senior Chris Zapata's single up the middle.
In his final game of his collegiate career in Shreveport, Zapata went 3-for-4 with a run scored and three RBIs.
Lavergne threw the final five innings of the contest for his sixth save of the season. He allowed only two hits, both infield toppers to third in the sixth, and two hit-by-pitches in the final four innings. He finished the game with 48 strikes on 60 total pitches.
Freshman Rhys Harris (1-1) picked up his first collegiate win, allowing just one hit and one run in 2.2 innings of relief.
Centenary scored two runs in both the third and fourth to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 5-2 lead. Cormane was hit by a pitch and advanced to second on an overthrown pickoff throw. After a groundout moved Cormane to third, Zapata doubled to left field. Junior Cameron Guin then singled up the middle to give the Gents the lead.
In the fourth, freshman Chris Haggard singled and moved into scoring position on a bunt groundout. Cormane hit a two-out, RBI single extend the lead. After a walk to Crowder, Zapata singled to left to score Cormane.
Cormane finished the game 2-for-4 with three runs scored and two RBIs. Haggard managed a hit in all three at-bats with a run scored and an RBI.
Trinity brought the go-ahead run to the plate in the fifth with one out. A fielding error with the bases loaded scored a run and moved the tying run into scoring position. However, Cormane stabbed a sharp liner off the bat of Michael Davis and flipped to junior Andrew Russell to double off the runner and retire the side.
Rafe Chaumette led Trinity with a hit and two RBIs while Joey Pecoraro added a sacrifice fly.
Holden Nix (2-1) took the loss, allowing two hits and three runs (two earned) in 2.1 innings of work.
Centenary kicks off the 2018 SCAC Tournament when it takes on fourth-seeded Southwestern Friday, May 4. First pitch at the Depot in Cleburne, Texas, is set for 1 p.m.