Pilots top Blazers 4-2 in GCAC action
March 16, 2007
Shreveport, LA---Friday night’s Gulf Coast Athletic Conference match-up saw the defending 2006 GCAC Tournament Champion LSUS Pilots (16-3, 8-2) defeat the 2006 GCAC Regular Season Champion Belhaven College Blazers (17-10, 8-5) by a final score of 4-2 at Pilots Field.
Pilots right hander Matt Clayman took the mound for the Pilots looking to improve to 4-0 on the year. Clayman walked leadoff hitter Blaise King to begin the game, but managed to hold the Blazers scoreless after collecting two fly outs, and catcher Bryan Stebbings threw out David Gilbert trying to steal second base to end the inning.
LSUS scored a run in the bottom of the 1st inning for the 6th consecutive game after Chris Frye belted a double off the wall in left field, and scored one batter later after Steffan Primeaux singled to left giving the Pilots a 1-0 lead.
The score remained 1-0 in the Pilots favor until the bottom of the 5th. Bryan Cooksey laced a leadoff double down the left field line, and quickly advanced to third with no out after reading a Larkin curveball in the dirt. Larkin managed to get David McGhee to fly out to shallow right field for the first out, and followed by walking Chase Jennings which put runners on the corners for Pilots leadoff hitter Brandon Magierowski.
Magierowski fouled off a first pitch bunt attempt but dropped down a perfect bunt base hit down the third base line on the next pitch to score Cooksey from third giving the Pilots a 2-0 cushion.
The Blazers offense finally mustered a run in the top of the 6th. King drew his second leadoff walk of the game and later advanced to second on a one out single to center field from Thomas Royals. Both runners advanced after a wild pitch found its way to the backstop, which allowed King to score from third on an RBI fielders choice to short from Bryan Bennett. Clayman put an end to the Blazers rally forcing a ground out to short from Ricky Owens who stranded runners at the corners.
After a scoreless 7th inning, Gilbert belted a one out fastball offering from Clayman deep over the left field wall to tie the game at 2-2. Royals followed with his second single of the game which marked the end of the night for Clayman.
Daniel Welch came out of the bullpen looking to close the door on the Blazers, but found him self in a jam early. Royals stole second base on Welch’s first delivery, and Bennett reached with a one out walk. Owens followed with a fielders choice ground out to third base, and pinch runner Mark Gray was thrown out at third base by Stebbings to end the inning and the BC scoring threat.
With one out in the bottom of the 8th, Primeaux delivered his second single of the night to left field. Pinch runner Quenton Shamsabody took over for Primeaux at first, and advanced to second after Pilots designated hitter Jeff Ledet drew a walk, which spelled the end for Braxton. The Blazers went to Chris Norris out of the bullpen who walked Colin Moro to load the bases with one out. BC opted to bring hard throwing right hander Matt Lawrence to the mound to face Stebbings who drove Lawrence’s first pitch to right field scoring Shamsabody and Ledet to give the Pilots a 4-2 lead.
BC center fielder Shawn Anderson beat out a base hit bunt to leadoff the 9th, but Welch shut down any comeback attempt by striking out Reg Out and Buddy Wyrick, and finished the game with a 3-2 curveball which froze pinch hitter Austin Fagan for strike three.
Welch (3-0) became the pitcher of record after replacing Clayman in the 8th inning. Clayman allowed two runs on five hits while scattering two walks and three hit by pitches, and collected six strikeouts. Welch allowed no hits and struck out three in his 1.2 innings of work.
Braxton (2-3) allowed four runs on seven hits, walked fiver batters, and collected eight strikeouts in the losing effort. Royals collected two of the Blazers six hits on the night, and teammate Gilbert finished 1-for-4 which included the game tying homerun in the 8th inning.
Cooksey, the reigning GCAC Player of the Week led the Pilots offense with a 2-for-3 effort which included a double and a run scored while Primeaux added a 2-for-4 effort and added an RBI. Frye finished 1-for-4 with a double and a run scored.
The top two teams in the GCAC will meet again Saturday afternoon in the form of a double header with game one scheduled for 1:00pm at Pilots Field.