Shreveport, LA – LSUA rallied from a 7-0 deficit to pull within a run, but the Generals left the tying run stranded in both the 8th and 9th innings as Texas A&M-Texarkana eliminated LSUA from the Red River Athletic Conference Tournament 7-6 Saturday night at Pilot Field.
The Eagles used the long ball to break the game open in the middle innings. Cole Beckham started his big night with a solo home run in the third to give Texarkana a 1-0 lead. TAMUT really busted it open with a big two-out rally in the third. Kolton Perfect found the right-center gap and got a kind bounce off the wall away from two LSUA outfielders to record a two-RBI triple. Then Beckham did again what he had just an inning before, going deep to left for his second home run of the game, this one counting for two runs, and give Texarkana a 5-0 lead.
Beckham came up big for the Eagles again with two outs in the sixth inning, as he found the right center gap for a triple that scored Perfect again, and when the throw back in bounced away from a LSUA infielder, Beckham scored as well for the 7-0 Texarkana lead.
But like they have all year, the Generals weren't going to go quietly. After Brady Fryou led off the bottom of the sixth with a single, Taylor Faulk found a pitch to his liking and took it over the left field wall for his second home run of the season to cut the deficit to 7-2.
LSUA pulled closer in the seventh as Trace Oliva led off the frame with a triple to the wall in left. Kris Tamplet followed that by rolling the ball behind Oliva, allowing Trace to touch the plate for a 7-3 score.
The Generals made their move in the eighth inning. With one out, Ziggy Sloan slammed the ball to the wall in center for a triple. In a pinch hit role, Tyler Mathis singled with a swinging bunt, putting runners on the corners as Drew Brown came on to run for him. After Brown was erased on a fielder's choice, Logan Constantine was hit by a pitch to load the bases with two outs. Trace Oliva came up and got a very fortunate bounce that unfortunately hit Eagle second baseman Kolton Perfect in the face and bounded away, allowing Sloan and Zach Hebert to score. A misplay on the throw back in allowed Logan Constantine to come in as well and the deficit was down to 7-6. Perfect walked off under his own power and Oliva was standing on second base when all was said and done. A strikeout ended the threat with Oliva in scoring position.
After LSUA kept a potential insurance run stranded at third base in the ninth, Brady Fryou put himself in position to tie the game as he poked one into center field that the Eagles lost and allowed to drop for a one out base hit. But pinch runner Derek Boehnke would remain there as the next two Generals got out to end the game and LSUA's bid to claim both the conference regular season and tournament titles.
Cole Feazell (7-2) threw six innings in the contest. He gave up eight hits and seven runs, six earned, walked two and struck out three. Brett Brooks, Kale Parks and Trey Caswell each worked an inning of scoreless relief. Ziggy Sloan led the LSUA offense by going three of five at the plate, while Trace Oliva, Brady Fryou and Taylor Faulk each had a pair of hits in the contest. Oliva and Faulk led the team with two RBIs each.
Even though the Generals run in the RRAC Tournament is over, LSUA is guaranteed a spot in the NAIA National Championship Tournament Opening Round by virtue of winning the conference regular season title. LSUA (33-22) will find out where they will head to play in the Opening Round this Thursday at 3:00 P.M. when the NAIA hosts its Baseball Tournament Selection Show.
The NAIA Tournament Opening Round runs May 15-18 at nine different host sites across the country with five teams playing in a double-elimination tournament at each site. The nine Opening Round winners will join host school Lewis-Clark State at Harris Field in Lewiston, Idaho on May 26th to June 2nd for the Avista NAIA Baseball World Series.