Wildcats Scratch by (RV) Loyola in Season’s Final Road Game

Wildcats Open Up Offense in Split with Houston-Victoria
Wildcats Open Up Offense in Split with Houston-Victoria(kalb)
Published: Apr. 26, 2022 at 11:47 PM CDT
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WESTWEGO, La. (KALB) -The Louisiana Christian University used a couple big innings in the middle of the contest to open up a lead on (RV) Loyola-New Orleans and held on with good defense late to pick up a 7-6 win over the Wolf Pack Tuesday night at Segenette Field.

It was a very slow start for the Wildcats as LCU batters went up and down in order in the first three innings. But the Wildcat defense kept LCU in it early, stranding 5 Wolf Pack base runners in those first three frames while allowing just one run across, which came in the second inning.

But the Loyola starter, who got the Wildcats ten up and ten down after the first batter of the fourth inning, suddenly couldn’t find the strike zone. The next four batters all watched ball four go by to draw walks, with Nick Brunet’s base on balls forcing home Alex Ashby to tie the score. An infield pop fly put the Wolf Pack on the cusp of getting out of the danger, but Nicolas Ramos would not allow Loyola to minimize the damage as he belted LCU’s first base hit of the game into the right-center gap for a double, scoring Keelyn Johnson and Ju’Juan Franklin to put the Wildcats up 3-1. With another base on balls loading the bases back up again, a pitch got away from the Loyola catcher, allowing all three runners to move up, including Brunet touching the plate to put the Wildcats up 4-1.

Alex Ashby got his second free base on balls in as many innings to start the top of the fifth inning and moved to second on a Keelyn Johnson base hit to left before Ju’Juan Franklin sent a pitch back from where it came, up the middle, to score Ashby. With Johnson forced out on a fielder’s choice and Franklin now at third following a wild pitch, Peyton Lamartiniere lifted a fly ball to deep enough to center field to allow Franklin to tag up and come home to put LCU up 6-1.

But the bottom of the fifth was where Loyola started its comeback attempt, plating two runs on a bases loaded, two-RBI double to make it 6-3 Wildcats after five innings. The Wolf Pack made it a two-run game in the sixth with a one-out, RBI single to make it 6-4 LCU.

An error gave the Wildcats what ended up being a massive run in the top of the seventh. Keelyn Johnson led off the inning with a base hit to left and moved to second on Nick Brunet’s base hit to right with one out. Peyton Lamartiniere rolled a ground ball to shortstop and Loyola looked to turn two to end the inning, but the relay from second to get Lamartiniere at first went wild, allowing pinch runner Nick Moreau to come home to put the Wildcats up 7-4. Loyola got that run back with an unearned run of its own in the bottom half to make it 7-5.

The Wildcats would have to hold on in a big way in the eighth inning to keep the lead. After stranding a lead off walk in the top half of the frame to keep LCU from adding to the lead, Loyola started the bottom half with an infield base hit, walk, and another base hit to score a run, making it 7-6 LCU while the Wolf Pack had runners on first and second with no outs. But Dawson Ardoin struck out two of the next three batters with the middle batter hitting a can of corn fly ball to center, allowing the Wildcats to keep the lead heading to the ninth inning.

After the Wildcats went up and down in order in the top of the ninth, Loyola opened the bottom half with a base hit back up the middle. The Wolf Pack tried to sacrifice that runner into scoring position, but the bunt was too strong, and Beau Hebert went to Keelyn Johnson standing on second base to get the lead runner. Denied the tying run in scoring position through the small ball method, the Wolf Pack decided to try to steal second, but Ty Morgan would not allow that to happen either as he made the throw down to second and Adrian Aguilar applied the tag for the second out of the inning. Now with the bases empty and two out, the Loyola nine-hole hitter flied out of Nicolas Ramos in left to end the game.

Keelyn Johnson, who ended last weekend second in the NAIA with a .500 batting average, stayed there by going two-for-four with a walk and a run scored. Nicolas Ramos went one-for-three with a double, two RBI, and a walk. Ju’Juan Franklin went one-for-four with a walk, a RBI, and two runs scored. Nick Brunet was also one-for-four with a walk, a RBI, and a run scored. Alex Ashby didn’t get a hit in his three official at bats, but did get walked twice which allowed him to come around and score twice.

Dylan Coburn (2-0) was the second of seven pitchers the Wildcats used on the night and was in the right spot to pick up the win. He went two innings and gave up just one hit and no runs with two strikeouts and no walks. Cortlynn Ramirez got the start and went two innings, giving up four hits and one run, which was earned, walked one and struck out two. Branon Pope went an inning and gave up two hits and two runs, both earned, with two walks and one strikeout. Chase Gardner only went a third of an inning and didn’t give up a hit but allowed a run, which was earned, walked two and struck out one. Colten Newsom went 1.2 innings and allowed three hits and two runs, only one earned, walked one and struck out one. Dawson Ardoin went an inning and allowed one hit but no runs with one walk and two strikeouts. Beau Hebert threw the ninth and gave one hit but no runs with no walks or strikeouts to earn his first save of the season.

The Wildcats (28-14, 20-10 RRAC) head home for the final three games of the regular season and senior weekend this weekend as Xavier of Louisiana comes to Pineville for the three-game conference set. First pitch of Friday’s single game against the Gold Rush (18-21, 14-15 RRAC) is set for 6:00 P.M. at Billy Allgood Field at Legacy Stadium.

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