Pilots use late inning heroics to complete sweep of Reddies
February 21, 2007
Arkadelphia, AR---LSUS Pilots (7-1) senior right hander Matt Clayman flirted with a no hitter in game one of a two game set between the Pilots and the NCAA Division II opponent Henderson State University Reddies Tuesday afternoon. Clayman registered an LSUS record 95mph fastball and allowed just one single in the 5th inning as the Pilots took game one 3-1. In game two the Pilots were down to their final strike, but an RBI single from senior Colin Moro in the top of the 7th inning forced extra frames. After each team squandered potential scoring opportunities in the 8th and 9th innings, the Pilots scored two runs in the 10th inning and held on for a 5-4 victory.
Clayman (2-0) was clocked at 93mph on his second pitch and later hit 95mph on a day in which he flirted with perfection. The first three innings proved uneventful for either side as Reddies right handed starter James Ferguson matched Clayman’s no-hit bid through three innings, allowing just one LSUS base runner by way of a hit by pitch.
The LSUS offense got things rolling in the 4th after a David McGhee single was followed by a Brandon Magierowski single, and an RBI double by Chris Frye which had the Pilots ahead 2-0. Colin Moro reached base off a Brian Cauthorn bobble at short which also advanced Frye to third base. Jeff Ledet followed with an RBI single stretching the Pilots lead to 3-0. Ferguson managed to get Bryan Cooksey to line into a double play and induced a Brent Lavallee ground out to second to end the Pilots rally.
The Pilots hurler remained perfect through 4.1 innings but could not put away Mike Devito who battled from a 1-2 count to muster a walk. Devito promptly advanced to second base after a wild pitch where he saw teammate Josh Spradlin become one of 11 Reddies strikeout victims on the afternoon. Tyler Sheppard however collected the Reddies lone hit as he drove a two out RBI single up the middle just out of the reach of the Pilots shortstop. Clayman finished the inning by striking out Cody Duncan to preserve the 3-1 Pilots lead.
Clayman allowed a one out walk in the 7th which brought the tying run to the plate, but any chance of a Reddies comeback bid was silenced with consecutive strikeouts over Devito and Spradlin as the Pilots held on to take game one by a final score 3-1.
Clayman was credited with the win after allowing just one hit and two walks while striking out 11. The Pilots hard throwing right hander has collected 27 strikeouts in 14.0 innings of work this young season and has held opponents to a stingy 0.089 batting average.
The night cap began the same as the first as two teams remained hitless through 2.5 innings. Sheppard however sparked the Reddies offense again in the bottom of the 3rd as he delivered a Marc Dainty fastball offering down the left field line for a lead off double. Dainty managed to strike out Duncan swinging for the first out of the inning but did not have such luck against David Purcell who delivered an RBI double to left center field for the games first run.
Josh Todd collected the Pilots first hit off Reddies starter Caleb Smith in the top pf the 4th inning which proved to be of no avail as Pilots second baseman grounded followed with a fielders choice to end the inning just one batter later.
In the 6th inning Josh Williams took over in relief for Smith who scattered three walks and one hit through 5.0 innings of work. Williams allowed a lead off walk to Moro which was followed by a Ledet single placing Pilots base runners at 1st and 2nd with no out. Williams struck out Cooksey for the first out and forced a ground out to first base by Stebbings which advanced Moro and Ledet to 2nd and 3rd. Pilots Head Coach Rocke Musgraves called on Scott Talley to pinch hit for Todd which proved to be the right move as Talley delivered a 2-0 fastball offering from Williams down the left field line giving the Pilots a 2-1 lead. Freshman right hander Matt Gibson came on in relief of Williams and forced a fly ball from pinch hitter Lavallee to end the inning.
Pilots reliever Paul Marlow tossed a perfect 5th inning in relief of Dainty who allowed just one run on three hits while striking out four. Marlow however fell victim to some tough luck in the 6th as Cauthorn reached base on an infield single which was followed by a double which trickled down the left field line off a diving Cooksey’s glove by Josh Guy. Marlow struck out Luis Flores for the first out and intentionally walked Julian Lauren to load the bases. The Pilots opted to bring left hander Kevin Jewell out of the pen to try and escape the bases loaded one out jam. The move this time did not work in the Pilots favor as Devito sent a 2-1 fastball down the right field line for a two RBI double which gave the Reddies a 3-2 lead. Spradlin followed with a potential sacrifice fly to right field but Lauren was caught tagging from third after Moro delivered a perfect strike to the plate where Stebbings tagged out Lauren to end the inning.
The 6th inning defensive play by Moro kept the Pilots within one run, and then a two out RBI single to left field by Moro tied the game at 3-3 and forced extra innings.
After Jewel completed a scoreless 7th inning, Stebbings led off the 8th with a double to left field. The Pilots moved him to third base with a sacrifice bunt, but Reddies reliever Josh Flemming struckout Quenton Shamsabody and forced a McGhee fly out to end the inning.
It looked as though all were lost for the Pilots in the bottom of the 8th as Guy and Flores scorched back-to-back singles off Pilots reliever Blake Pinkston. Lauren moved both runners with a sacrifice but which was followed by an intentional walk by the Pilots to Devito to load the bases. Spradlin delivered a line drive to right field which was caught by Moro who once again delivered a strike to home which kept Lauren from scoring from third base. Pinkston managed to strikeout the hot hitting Sheppard to end the Reddies rally.
A scoreless 9th was followed by a two run 10th inning by the Pilots. Ledet scored all the way from first after Cooksey delivered a single to left which hopped over Spradlin’s glove giving the Pilots a 4-3 lead. LSUS received some more help off the bench, this time from the bat of freshman Bobby Hebert who doubled to left field scoring Cooksey from second in his first official collegiate at bat, stretching the Pilots lead to 5-3.
LSUS brought on senior right hander Daniel Welch to preserve the 5-3 lead in the 10th, but Welch was greeted by a leadoff homerun to center field by Guy which cut the lead to 5-4. Welch however settled in and retired the next three hitters in order collecting his first save of the season.
Pinkston (1-0) was the winning pitcher off record. He allowed two hits and one walk while striking out two in 2.0 innings of work.
Ledet led the Pilots offense with a 2-for-4 effort at the plate which included two runs scored. Talley finished 1-for-1 with a double and two RBI, while Hebert finished with what turned out to be the game winning RBI double in the 10th inning.
The Pilots will now look to take their 7-1 record into Gulf Coast Athletic Conference action this weekend as they will travel to Mobile, AL to take on the Spring Hill College Badgers in a three game series beginning Friday afternoon. Game one is scheduled for 6:00pm, however, Pilots fans need to keep a close eye on the website for schedule changes due to weather. Fans who cannot make the trip to SHC can catch all the action live with Team Line broadcasting and the voice of the Pilots Mark Cantrell. Just click on the Team Line listen live logo at www.lsus.edu/baseball.