EIGHT CONFERENCE TITLES (1973, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1982, 1984, 1987)
Centre splits season-opening twin bill at No. 10 LaGrange
LAGRANGE, Ga. – Centre baseball began 2018 on the road against 10th-ranked LaGrange Friday, splitting a doubleheader with the Panthers on Cleaveland Field at Williamson Stadium.
The Colonels (1-1) were buoyed by a big seventh inning in game one's 8-6 victory, but the Panthers (4-2), a 2017 NCAA Tournament team, exacted a measure of revenge with a late rally to win game two, 5-4.
GAME ONE: Centre 8, LaGrange 6
Friday's opener began as a pitchers' duel between Centre junior Nick Hoffman (Louisville, Ky.) and LaGrange sophomore Ritchie Post.
Hoffman and Post, each named to their respective all-conference teams a season ago, combined to allow just two hits through the first three innings.
The Panthers finally broke the scoreless tie in the bottom of the fourth with RBIs from Jack Layrisson and James Poropatic.
Hoffman got into trouble in the bottom of the frame, though, as a handful of wild pitches forced a change to senior Aaron Scilley (Maysville, Ky.). The Panthers would plate three runs to take a 5-1 lead after six complete.
Centre stormed back with a seven-run top of the seventh, capitalizing on four walks and a hit-by-pitch after LaGrange went to the bullpen.
Falbo added to his RBI tally with a two-run single to left center, and senior Casey Klein (Louisville, Ky.) also drove in a pair with a single up the middle, making it 8-5.
LaGrange added another run in the bottom of the seventh, and got the tying run to the plate in the ninth, but couldn't do any more damage as Schacht earned the save.
Klein and Schacht each finished the game with three hits and a run scored, while Falbo led all players with three RBIs. Selin recorded a pair of hits and as many RBIs.
Hoffman finished with three strikeouts in five-plus innings. Scilley and Schacht allowed just five hits and two earned runs across the final four frames to secure the win.
GAME TWO: LaGrange 5, Centre 4
The Colonels wasted no time getting on the board in the afternoon affair, plating three runs in the top of the first inning after the top three batters got on base.
After leading off with a walk, Kirk eventually scored on a passed ball. Falbo brought in the next run with an infield single, followed by another RBI single from junior Cameron Duggins (Knoxville, Tenn).
Centre again loaded the bases in the second, chasing LaGrange starter Anthony Elias, but managed just one run as reliever Collin Barrett escaped relatively unscathed.
LaGrange scattered some base runners against Colonels starter Aaryn Chandler (St. John, Ind.), but the junior righty stranded eight throughout five scoreless innings.
Chandler finished his day allowing just three hits and no runs in five complete frames, giving way to freshman Jake Holloway (Franklin, Tenn.) in the sixth.
Holloway fanned the first two batters of his collegiate career, and kept LaGrange off the board for two-plus innings before the home side threatened in the eight.
The Panthers loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the inning, and by the time Centre got three outs LaGrange had brought five in to score, taking a 5-4 lead.
Centre loaded the bases in the ninth, but couldn't pull even and force extra innings.
The Colonels and Panthers have a tentative game scheduled for tomorrow, with pending weather possibly forcing its cancellation. Stay tuned to CentreColonels.com and @CentreAthletics on Twitter for up-to-date information.