Shreveport – The Centenary baseball team will take the field on Tuesday for the first time in almost a year as the men open their regular season in 2021 at home against the Louisiana College Wildcats in a non-conference game set at 3pm at Shehee Stadium.
The Gents’ 2020 promising season was limited to just 13 games due to COVID-19 when Centenary picked up a 10-7 extra inning victory over La Verne on March 1, 2020 in California. Maroon and White ended the shortened season 9-4 and showed a strong offense when they scored 10 or more races five times, including 12 or more four times.
Centenary is predicted to finish third at the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference this season by the league’s coaches based on selections in the annual coaches’ poll before the season, it was announced last week. The men, as is the case every season, are set to run for the conference title and a potential NCAA tournament spot this season.
The men are led by 11ththis year’s head coach Mike Diaz, who owns a 219-165-1 overall record (.567 winning percentage) and a fantastic 81-29 (.736) record in SCAC games. Diaz has led the men to SCAC regular season titles in 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2018. In 2017, the men made the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history, becoming only the third centennial athletics team (and the first in more than a decade) to reach NCAA postseason. Diaz was named SCAC Coach of the Year in 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2018. He was also named Regional Coach of the Year by D3Baseball.com in 2017.
Senior outdoor player Cody Crowder (Shepherd, Texas) returns this season to anchor the offense. Crowder led the team in six offensive categories last season and finished second in four and third in another. He played in all 13 games last season and hit .389 (second on the team) in 54 bats with 21 hits and 13 points. He had nine extra-base hits and led the team in home runs (four), doubles (four), and tied for others with a triple. He was named SCAC Baseball Hitter of the Week on Feb. 10. 2020 when he hit .400 (4-10) with three home runs, six RBIs, six runs and three trips to lead the men to a 3-0 start to open the season. He had a team-leading 18 RBI and posted a .459 percentage on the base, leading the team in slugging at .722. He had eight multi-hit games and a three-hit game in February. 22 against Eureka. He also hit two home runs and had four RBI February. 8 against ETBU.
Senior Fellow Preston Ludwick (Pflugerville, Texas) also played in all 13 games and ranked among the top three on the team in eight different statistical categories and ranked fourth on the team with a .407 percentage base. He hit .327, third on the team, with 17 hits on 52 bats and 10 RBI. He had four multi-hit games, including a three-hit game in the first half of a double-header against ETBU in February. 8. He had a four-hit show in February. 22 against Edgewood.
Ludwick is also one of the best pitchers for the men this season as well, as he went 2-1 with a 4.20 ERA with two starts and made a total of four appearances in 2020. He allowed seven races, all earned and 11 hits in 15 strokes. He went five and struck out 15, and in two victories he struck a total of 12 laps and allowed only two earned races and 10 hits without trips and 13 strikes.
Senior infielder Chris Haggard (Lake Charles, La.) The team made a .391 stroke average and a .509 base percentage last season in 13 games played. He was number two on the team with a .543 slugging percentage and collected 18 hits (second on the team) on 46 bats. He had 16 races scored and seven RBs. He went eight times and struck out just four times throughout the season and had four multi-hit games.
Senior left-handed Connor Lee (Sugarland, Texas) is also back as one of the men’s leaders for the pitching staff. He started five games last season and went 1-0 with a 2.48 ERA, which came second on the team. He allowed 16 runs, eight rebounds and 31 hits in 29 innings. He went seven and knocked out 22. Lee started the season opener in February. 7. 2020 at ETBU and got the victory when he hit 6.2 laps and allowed a earned race and six hits with two trips and five strikes. He allowed five runs (four earned) in seven hits with two innings and a season-high seven strikes in the season’s best 8.1 innings in a 6-5 men’s victory over Edgewood in February. 21 when he received a no-decision. He also threw 7.1 innings against Whittier on Feb. 29 and received a no-decision when he allowed seven runs (but only one earned run) and 10 hits with two rounds and six strikes.
The men stay at home this week when they meet the ETBU Tigers on Friday February. 12 at 18 Gents opens SCAC games on Friday 19. March at Austin College. The SCAC Baseball Tournament in 2021 will be held May 7-9 at The Depot at Cleburne Station.
Live statistics and live video are available for all home competitions.
A link to the men’s complete schedule for 2021 can be found here: https://www.gocentenary.com/sports/bsb/2020-21/plan