Norris gets first collegiate win, Pilots claim RRAC title
April 16, 2011BROWNSVILLE, Tex. - The no. 5 LSU Shreveport Pilots baseball team claimed the Red River Athletic Conference Regular Season title on Saturday afternoon with a win over the University of Texas-Brownsville Scorpions by a final score of 8-1 at Scorpion Field. The Pilots claimed the regular season title in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference back in 2005.
The LSUS starting pitcher Logan Norris pitched with a heavy heart as got his first win at the collegiate level after losing his grandfather earlier in the week. He was magnificent as he took control early and never looked back.
Norris faced the minimum through the first three innings of play and got some help from his battery partner, Andrew Brouillette, who caught Joel Fernandez trying to steal in the first inning and the Pilots turned an around the horn double-play as Gus Hengeller tried a sacrifice bunt the Shawn Moy and Michael Diffie turned into the first two outs of the innings.
The only run of the game for UTB came in the bottom of the fourth inning as Matt Warner hit his fifth home run of the year but the damage was minimal as it was a solo shot. Norris retired the next six batters that he faced before pitching out of a two base-runner jam in the sixth. He allowed a leadoff double in the seventh but then retired the final three batters that he faced.
Norris (1-1) tossed seven solid innings scattering five hits, walking only one, and striking out four batters.
"We are so happy for Logan, he threw the ball well today and considering all that he has been through this week. He will be a big part of our staff as we prepare for next weekend and the conference tournament," said LSUS head coach Rocke Musgraves.
Ben Suit pitched the eighth inning for the Pilots striking out two of the three batters that he faced while Cade Bowen also worked a perfect ninth inning. The Pilot's pitching staff retired the final nine batters of the game insuring no comeback would take place on Senior Day at Scorpion Field
The Pilots offense did not disappoint as they got Norris a three-run lead before he toed the rubber. Diffie led off the game with a single to center field after working back from a 0-2 count. The Pilots caught a break when the UTB second baseman did not catch a line drive off the bat of Kevin Smith that would have been an inning-ending double play. Instead the Pilots had just one out and runners at first and second. The missed double play rattled the UTB pitcher Chris Raley as he walked the next four batters to give the Pilots the early lead.
LSUS added three more runs in the fifth inning as Brouillette ripped a single to left field to start the inning and Chase Wentz later followed with a hit to put two runners aboard with only one out. Curtis Beaudoin drove in the first run of the inning with a sac fly to right and then the Pilots scored the second run via a wild pitch from Raley. Justin Brodnax laced a triple in the left center field gap to bring in the third run of the inning to extend the lead to 6-1 after five complete innings of play.
The visitors added single runs in the eighth and ninth innings as Diffie drove in the eighth with a sac fly while Beaudoin's single to center brought in the run in the ninth inning.
Beaudoin topped the Pilot's list for runs driven in for the game with three RBIs and was two for three at the plate. Wentz was two for five while Brodnax was one for three with two runs batted in and Moy was one for three with a RBI. Manny Estrada was two for four while Diffie was one for four with a RBI.
The Pilots still have one more series to go in the regular season as they meet the Texas Wesleyan Rams in a three-game series next weekend in Fort Worth at LaGrave Field with a single nine-inning game on Friday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. while the double header of the series will be Saturday afternoon at 1:00 p.m.
LSUS has wrapped up the no. 1 seed for the conference tournament coming up at Pilot Field on April 30- May 3. The Pilots must play well next weekend and in the RRAC Tournament to stay in the top nine in the rankings to ensure a no. 1 seed for the NAIA opening round tournament.
"It is true that we have clinched the regular season title but we must play well the next few weeks to keep our stock up for the possibility of a no. 1 seed for the NAIA National Tournament," said Musgraves.
The Pilots have experienced success in the conference tournaments as they have won four of their last five, all of which were in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference. This year's RRAC Tournament will be the Pilots second appearance in the tournament since 2000 when they were a member of the RRAC before making the change to the GCAC for the 2001 season.