Pilots steer past Lions
#8 LSU-Shreveport blanks SAGU, 11-0
Shutout is only second for Lions in 2011
SHREVEPORT, Louisiana -- The opener in a three-game series between the #8 ranked Louisiana State University at Shreveport and Southwestern Assemblies of God University failed to disappoint the Pilots home fans.
Held without a run for just the second time all season, SAGU dropped an 11-0 decision against the leaders of the Red River Athletic Conference.
Righthander Cole Newell (2-2) tossed a three-hit shutout in the opener when the Pilots (28-8, 18-1 in RRAC) scored six runs in the fourth inning to break the game open. Cade Bowen struck out the only three batters he faced in the top of the seventh to complete LSU-Shreveport's 11-0 blanking of the Lions. The pair combined to strike out eleven hitters without issuing a single walk.
Newell, a 6-foot-2 sophomore, is a valued member of the Pilots' deep bullpen. There are five pitchers on the squad with three or more wins, led by Jared Mortensen and Jared Mata, both with five wins.
The Pilots outhit SAGU 13-3, totaling five doubles and a solo home run by Carlos Martinez.
Cameron Ward (Mansfield, Tx / Grace Prep) took the loss. The senior lefthander managed the top of the Pilots batting order, the most feared attack in the country. Scoring more runs than any of the 205 teams in the NAIA, the #8 ranked LSUS struggled to string hits together against Ward.
The first five batters combined to collect just 5 hits in 18 trips to the plate. The bottom of the line-up, however, had success at the plate. The group went 8 for 13 and helped the Pilots to their 18th win in 19 games against teams in the RRAC.
Chavez, Ward, Gomez rap basehits
SAGU's three hits were singles by Ben Chavez (Roswell, NM / NMMI, Gateway HS) and Ward, and a double by third baseman David Gomez (Del Rio, Tx / Bowie HS).
Chavez, who has been warming up in recent games, lined a one-out single to center in top of the first frame. The threat ended when SAGU's top batter, Patrick Wherland (Petrolia, Tx / Petrolia HS), smashed a hot grounder to second baseman Michael Diffie. He turned the sharply hit ball into a double play.
Diffie, LSUS' #8 hitter, also delivered at bat. In going 3-for-3 he scored twice, drove in one run and pounded a pair of doubles.
The Lions wouldn't have a baserunner reach first until the fifth on a single up the middle by Ward. Newell buckled down and fanned the other three Southwestern men he faced.
His double to leftfield came with one out in the sixth. The next two batters flew out to left and struck out. It was the only time the Lions had a runner in scoring position.
Spelling Relief for SAGU
Southwestern's Philip Heider (Malcolm, Neb / Citizens HS), a senior lefthanded reliever, had an impressive stint in the sixth inning. He yielded a single and got three batters to pop-up or fly out. He followed junior righty Chris Stanley (Harker Heights, Tx / Ellison HS), who went one inning and two-thirds of another. The only runner to reach base was Martinez. He ripped a 2-2 pitch to centerfield that Dustin Jett (Patterson, La / Patterson HS) couldn't catch-up to. Martinez raced around the bases for an inside the park homer, his first round-tripper of the season.
On Deck: Friday Twinbill
Southwestern will send Nic Morgan (Ft. Worth, Tx / LaTourneau, Boswell HS) to the mound in the first game in a Friday doubleheader, which starts at noon.