Pilots collect 12-4 win over Wolfpack to advance in GCAC tournament
May 05, 2005
Jackson, MS---After a first round loss to the 6th seeded SpringHillCollege Badgers yesterday afternoon, the LSUS Pilots responded with a 12-4 win over the LoyolaUniversity Wolfpack to extend their stay in the GulfCoast Athletic Conference Tournament.
It took the Pilots 8 innings to get their bats rolling as the Pilots could only muster 2 runs in the second inning; Scott Tally scored from third on a pass ball in the top of the second and Chris Frye blooped a single to left field to score Kyle Mace who doubled down the right field line earlier in the inning of Wolfpack starter Gian Balsamo. Balsamo was then lifted from the game and gave way to Paul Neil in relief.
The Wolfpack managed to load the bases in the bottom of the third with no outs versus the GCAC pitcher of the year, Derek Cunningham (8-1) after Greg Veltri and Andy Rodriguez were both hit by a pitch and David Lauricella singled to right. Wolfpack clean-up hitter Kevin Kalina managed to run the count to 3-1 and drove a Cunningham fastball offering on a line right at Pilot left fielder Riley Cook which scored Veltri and cut the pilots lead to 2-1. Cunningham the settled in and struck out Mark Jaynes and got Brian Mason to line out to left field to end the Wolfpack rally.
Neil managed to hold the Pilots offense in check as he held the Pilots scoreless through to the 7th inning. With two outs in the bottom of the 7th Rodriguez doubled to deep right center field and advanced to third after Dustin Bissonnette bobbled a ground ball off the bat of Lauricella. The Wolfpack capitalized on the Pilots misplay as Kalina stepped to the plate and drove a 1-0 fastball off the top of the left field fence to tie the score at 2-2. Cunningham followed with a walk to Jaynes and the escaped from the inning by getting Mason to fly out to right.
Dusty Maddox led off the top of the eighth inning with his second single of the game to left field. Maddox was moved to second after Pilots catcher Scott Talley laid down a sacrifice bunt. The Wolfpack opted to intentionally walk Mace to put the double play in order but Neil hit Frye in the back to load the bases which set the stage for Pilot pinch hitter Patrick Thompson. Thompson delivered a single to left center field that landed just out of the reach of a diving David Sudyka which scored Maddox and courtesy runner Bryan Arnold to put the Pilots up 4-2. Neil was then lifted for reliever Brian Sullivan who promptly gave up a single to right field to Riley Cook which scored Thompson and gave the Pilots a 5-2 lead.
Neil completed 6.0 innings scattering 3 hits and 4 walks while allowing 3 earned runs in the 8th inning and was tagged with the loss.
Kevin Jewell came on in relief of Cunningham who despite having his best command held the Wolfpack to 2 runs (one earned) on 8 hits and 3 walks while collecting 5 strikeouts and improved to 8-1 on the year. Jewell tossed a scoreless bottom of the eighth and the Pilots offense took over in the top of ninth.
The Pilots offense which has struggled of late to say the least managed to belt out seven hits and scored 7 runs to push their lead to 12-2. Bissonnette capped off the inning with a two RBI double to right center field scoring Talley who previously doubled to left and Cook who singled to right.
The Wolfpack managed to plate two runs in the bottom of the ninth of Pilot reliever Mark Bignell but saw their GCAC tournament life come to an end when Joey Villa popped out to right field to end the game.
Wolfpack senior Kevin Kalina led the Wolfpack with a 4-4 and two RBI performance. “Kalina is a tough out. He showed how good of a hitter he can be today,” commented Pilots third base coach Al Cantwell. “Loyola deserves a lot of credit for how they finished their season, continuing to win despite injuries to three of their top pitchers.”
The Pilots one through four hitters combined for 8 of the Pilots 15 hits and Riley Cook finished 2-3 with an RBI and a run scored. “We have been pressing offensively for the past three weeks. It was great to see our hitters stay loose and come through with some big hits late in a tight ball game. Hopefully that is the spark that will get the offense rolling again as we come up on our toughest and most important part of the season,” concluded Cantwell.
The Pilots managed to collect their 4oth win of the season Thursday afternoon and will now face the loser of the BelhavenCollege and WilliamCareyCollege match-up Friday at 2:30pm.
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