STERLINGTON, La. – Neither a five-hour weather delay for rain and lightning nor Texas A&M–Texarkana’s baseball team could stop the Wildcats of Louisiana Christian University from advancing to the next round of the Red River Athletic Conference Tournament.
The Wildcats (36-14) scored early and often as they ended Texas A&M–Texarkana’s season Sunday as they defeated the Eagles 5-1 in an elimination game. (BOX SCORE)
With the win, LCU advanced to the semifinal round of the elimination bracket where the ‘Cats will face a familiar opponent. The Wildcats will face Rapides Parish rival LSU–Alexandria at 1 p.m. Monday at the Sterlington Sports Complex.
Pineville native Cy Fontenot turned in one of his finest performances of the season on the mound Sunday. He struck out eight batters and allowed only two hits over six complete innings as he improved his season record to 7-4.
Fontenot was perfect through five innings as he retired the first 15 batters he faced. Dylan Simmons ended the no-hit bid with a single deep to the left side of the infield to lead off the sixth inning. The Eagles loaded the bases with one out in the inning but came away empty-handed as Fontenot got a strikeout and a groundball out to get out of the jam.
The ‘Cats gave their pitcher an early lead by scoring five runs over the game’s first three innings. Peyton Lamartiniere’s first-inning double to left field allowed Braxton Cooksey to score from second base and gave LCU a 1-0 lead.
LCU added two more runs in the second inning thanks to an RBI single from Noah Gaspard that scored Nick Moreau; that was followed by Drake Angeron’s squeeze bunt that scored Jett Aubé from third base.
The Wildcats added two more in the third inning, starting with Moreau’s RBI single that bounced off the first base bag and allowed Dylan David to score from second base. Aubé’s RBI groundout that scored Adrian Aguilar capped the scoring.
Meanwhile, the only thing that kept Fontenot from retiring Eagle hitters with ease was the weather. A lightning delay halted play one pitch into the bottom of the seventh inning, forcing the teams back to their bus. Two accompanying rain showers further delayed proceedings; the game eventually resumed at 7:30 p.m.
When play resumed, the Eagles managed to load the bases in the seventh and ninth innings, only to come away with a single run thanks to an RBI walk in the ninth. Dylan Beier struck out four batters over two and one-third innings of relief, while Chase Gardner pitched the final out and earned his third save of the season.
The Wildcats face LSU–Alexandria on Monday at 1 p.m. in an elimination game. The Generals reached the game by defeating Our Lady of the Lake 10-0 in seven innings. LCU took two out of three contests when the teams met in Alexandria during the season.
The game was scheduled to be played at 5 p.m. Sunday, but the weather delay pushed Sunday’s 5 p.m. games to Monday at 1 p.m. The winner of of the LCU-LSUA game will face the loser of the winners bracket final between Houston-Victoria and LSU–Shreveport at 5 p.m. Monday.
The tournament championship game (and second championship game, if necessary) will now be played Tuesday.