TYLER, Texas - In a matchup between the two highest seeds remaining at the 2017 NCAA Division III West Regional, the No. 2 seeded Cal Lutheran baseball team pulled away from No. 3 Centenary (La.) for an 8-2 victory on Friday night at Irwin Field.
Strong pitching helped CLU to a win in the regional opener, and starting pitcher Nate Wehner continued the trend in game two, holding a high-octane Centenary offense at bay throughout the game. The junior righty kept the Gents off-balance while going the distance for a complete game and scattering nine hits, allowing two runs and striking out five on 141 pitches.
After scoring 12 runs in their regional opener against Linfield on Thursday, the Gents bats fell silent as Wehner kept the hitters guessing and induced a pair of crucial double plays in the game to halt any chance of a Centenary comeback.
With the game still scoreless entering the bottom of the fifth inning, CLU broke through with a five-run inning to take a commanding lead. After Cheynne Giles drew a leadoff walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch, Trey Saito drove him home for the first run of the game. With one out and runners on the corners later in the inning, Sinjin Todd nearly grounded into a double play but his hustle out of the box and a wide throw allowed another run to score and the inning to continue.
The Kingsmen would capitalize with a two out rally that saw an RBI single off the bat of Jimmy Jauregui and a two-RBI double from Weston Clark.
Max Weinstein continued the scoring in the sixth inning with an RBI single to drive in Saito and put the Violet and Gold ahead 6-0.
The Gents managed to scrape two runs across in the seventh to cut the CLU lead to four, but Clark came through with his second two-RBI double of the game, in the eighth inning, to regain a six run cushion, 8-2.
The Kingsmen tallied 13 hits for the second consecutive game and were led by Weinstein who went 4-for-5 at the plate. Clark finished 3-for-5 with four RBIs while Saito and Todd both collected two hits and scored twice.
Cole Lavergne (4-2) picked up the loss for Centenary after throwing five innings and allowing five runs, seven hits, walking two and striking out five.
Cal Lutheran (33-10) squares off against No. 6 seed Rhodes (Tenn.), the only other undefeated team in the regional, in the semifinals tomorrow, May 20 at 9:00 a.m. PST.
Box Score: CLU 8, CC 2
Tournament Central: 2017 NCAA Division III West Regional
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