Trinity baseball came out with two wins and one loss after a series to sixth ranked Centenary College this past weekend.
The series started on Friday night, with a game won by the Tigers 2-0. The game saw strong defense from both Centenary and Trinity. Despite getting a handful of hits, the Tigers struggled to get on the board throughout the first four innings.
“Their starter did a good job of keeping the ball down and mixing his speeds. The reliever lived on the outer third with a good slider,” said senior catcher George Haaland. “Each game has a different feel, to me offense wasn’t necessarily going to win, meaning there wouldn’t be any crooked innings.
The game also saw a strong performance from senior Tigers right handed pitcher Dylan McGee.
“The Centenary line-up is notorious for being a free-swinging, aggressive team that is looking to hit the ball hard every single time. That sounds exactly like the approach every team should have, but I was able to keep the hitters off balance with my strong curveball,” McGee said, “One of my strongest assets on the mound is the hard breaking curveball I throw, and when I’m able to effectively throw that pitch out of the strike zone, hitters are usually tempted to swing at bad pitches. So my approach was to throw my curveball in what is normally a fastball count as well as effectively pitch-out of the strike zone so that the free-swinging hitters would swing at bad pitches.”
Trinity scored two runs in the fifth inning. Both Haaland and junior shortstop Zachary Oretsky got on base by getting walked. Haaland scored on a single from sophomore right fielder Jake Martin and Oretsky on a single from junior designated hitter Michael Davis.
After the events of the fifth, neither team scored again and the Tigers won the game 2-0.
“Our team knows strong pitching and defense always gives us a chance to win and that’s what happened in game one,” Haaland said.
The series continued Saturday at 1 p.m. The Gents scored once in the first inning and twice more in the third, at which point first-year pitcher Matthew Thomas was relieved by first-year right-hand pitcher Mark Tindall. A two RBI single allowed Centary to earn a crooked inning, bring the score 4-0.
The Tigers got their own chance to score in the bottom of the fourth, when a home run from Haaland brought the score to 4-3, with runs from Haaland, Dalys Binder and Rafe Chaumette.
Centenary scored thrice more in the 5th, and with a score of 7-5, Tindall was relieved by senior right handed pitcher Troy Nelson.
The bottom of the fifth inning saw two more Tiger home runs, from Martin and junior centerfielder Blake Frampton.
“My hitting approach on the weekend was to just hit as many balls hard as possible. It seems like a simple approach, but can be very difficult at times during the game,” Martin said. “Once you start to hit the ball hard and square over and over that is when results start to show up and you get on base.”
After the fifth inning, neither team managed to score again, leaving the Gents with a 7-5 victory.
The double hitter continued at 4:20 p.m. with an offensively charged game. The Tigers began the first inning strong, with first-year second baseman Brian Cardone batting in Chaumette and Martin. The top of the second saw the Gents scoring three runs off a double from Gents second baseman Andrew Russell and a two RBI single from centerfielder Zane Wilkinson.
The bottom of the third enabled the Tigers to put up even more crooked numbers with runs from Binder, Haaland, senior first baseman Scott Walters and Oretsky. Along with a pitching change on the part of the Gents, the third inning brought the score up to 6-3 in favor of the Tigers.
“[Centenary’s] pitchers knew what they wanted to do when they got on the mound, what pitches they wanted to throw and where they wanted to throw them. They rarely strayed away from this plan and because of that it made it hard to hit at times,” Martin said. “However, with all of the strikes they threw once we figured out their plan we could jump on certain pitches to hit. That is where we were able to create damage on the offensive side.”
After a double from [first-year] catcher Michael Goodrich, the Gents once again changed out pitchers, after which a double from Haaland batted in Goodrich, bringing the score up to 7-3. The top of the sixth saw Centenary attempt to fight back. A grounder from first baseman Cole Lavergne resulted in a double play from the Tigers, but allowed catcher Chris Zapata to score, bringing the score to 7-4.
With bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth, a grand slam from Goodrich kicked the score up to 11-4, with scores from Goodrich, Cardone, Martin and Frampton.
“It’s nice when we can produce runs as a team,” Haaland said. “Ultimately, that’s what will make our offense successful down the road and [the sixth inning] was a great team inning for us.”
Shortstop Aaron Quintanilla brought the score up to 11-5 with his own home run in the top of the seventh and Trinity answered in the bottom by scoring four more runs. The seventh and final inning saw Oretsky, Walters, Martin and Chaumette all cross the plate to score unearned runs and with a final score of 15-5, the Trinity Tigers ruled the Centenary Gents.
The game saw a strong defensive performance from the Tigers, led by senior right-handed pitcher Kevin Flores. Flores was relieved in the seventh inning by sophomore right-handed pitcher Ian Hussain.
The series ended 2-1 in favor of the Tigers. Centenary, which was ranked sixth at the start of the series fell 2-1 to the Trinity Tigers. The Tigers saw the weekend as proof that they,
the Tigers, who have struggled with consistency throughout much of the start of the season proved against Centenary that the defending champions, despite the youth of their roster, is capable of fighting hard and winning games.
“This series was some of the best baseball we have played all year. The games were some of the first where we performed on offense and defense. It wasn’t where we would pitch well and hit poorly or visa versa. We finally hit and pitched well and the results showed up,” Martin said. “It put us in a better place in the conference and will allow us to hopefully keep moving in the right direction as the season continues. It also is never a bad thing to win two out of three games against a top-ten ranked team.”
“Taking the series was great,” Haaland said. “It was important for us, because we are wanting to build as much momentum for the end of the year as we can. I thought we did a good job doing that. Now the key is to perform at a consistent level week in and week out.”
The series reminded the Tigers what they are capable of achieving and what they have to look forward to if they continue playing well.
“The whole team knows that Centenary is a strong team, and that we would have to play our best baseball to win the series,” McGee said. “The toughest part of our schedule is behind us now, and after two huge victories this weekend, the team is fired up and looking to sweep every weekend from here on out. Coach Scannell reminds us every weekend that a dog pile on the field at the SCAC Tournament this year would be the most exciting dog pile ever simply because this team has had to learn how to win. The young guys on this team really showed what they are capable of this weekend, so we can continue to work together, we are literally unbeatable.”
The Tigers proved this weekend the time of ball games they are capable of playing. Whether or not they live up to their full potential this season is yet to be seen. While only time will tell the results of this.