SHREVEPORT – Considering all the casino signs staring straight at him in the dugout from across I-20, Angelina College head coach Jeff Livin couldn't help but feel a little gambler's luck in the ninth inning of Friday's nightcap with Bossier Parish.
With his Roadrunners clinging to a 7-6 lead and the tying run aboard, Livin elected to issue a two-out intentional walk to the Cavs' toughest out, Remy Weber – who took his place at first as the potential winning run.
That roll of the dice appeared destined for hard luck when AC reliever John Gaeke unintentionally walked Jr. Coronado to load the bases, leaving Bossier Parish a mere single away from a walk-off win.
But Gaeke then struck out pinch hitter Tony Montalbano, giving the ‘Runners the win and a sweep of the Cavs.
"Walking (Weber) shows how much respect I have for that kid as a player," Livin said of his decision. "He's such a clutch hitter, and I wasn't going to let him beat us.
"And John (Gaeke) may not have done the job in his usual shut-‘em-down style, but he got the job done nonetheless."
Gaeke ended up with his second bailout of the day, having relieved AC starter Chase Greening in the seventh inning of the opener and the Roadrunners leading 6-2. In that game, Gaeke entered with one out and two runners aboard; he ran the count to 3-2 on Tanner Hoechlin before inducing a 6-4-3 double play ball to preserve AC's win.
"To sweep a good team like this on the road really says something about our ball club and how determined they are to win games," Livin said. "We got a little something from everyone today, and it's going to take those sorts of contributions to keep winning."
Greening (4-2) threw six and a third innings, striking out five and walking none while scattering eight hits. Chris Jones and Ryan Gunhouse drove in two runs with two singles each, and Keny Allison added an RBI on a sacrifice fly. Todd Wallace singled and doubled and scored twice to lead the Roadrunners to the 6-2 win.
In the nightcap, starter Taylor Holt gave up a single in the first inning, then proceeded to no-hit the Cavaliers over the next four frames. But when Holt, who hadn't pitched a full game in over a year, hit the wall, he hit it hard. Bossier Parish stormed back with a five-run sixth inning, with Hoechlin blasting a three-run homer, Kyle Morton driving in a run with a triple and Weber picking up an RBI with a single to put the Cavs on top 5-1 and chase Holt from the mound.
The Roadrunners allowed the Cavs to savor the lead for about 10 minutes before staging a six-run seventh in which 11 AC hitters marched to the plate. Wallace's triple scored a pair of runs, and Greg Garcia, Allison and Grant Clyde also sent runners home, making a winner of Nick Wright, who took over for Holt.
"Taylor did one heck of a job, but he really started feeling the innings late in the game," Livin said. "He just hasn't pitched enough to build his stamina, but as you could see, his stuff was very, very good."
The Cavs scored a run off Wright in the eighth without benefit of a hit, with Coronado hit by a pitch, Morton drawing a walk and Coronado scoring on a wild pitch. Wright finished the inning with a strikeout and a pair of pop-ups, giving way to Gaeke with one out in the ninth.
The Roadrunners (15-15, 3-1) will host Navarro Wednesday at Roadrunner Field in Lufkin. Game time for the doubleheader is 1 p.m.
LADY ROADRUNNERS SWEEP ST. LOUIS-MERRIMAC
It may have been a non-conference doubleheader, but Friday's twinbill with St. Louis-Merrimac gave the Angelina College Lady Roadrunners yet another taste of winning, with AC taking 6-1 and 5-2 decisions to earn the sweep.
The Lady ‘Runners (17-9) will travel to Coastal Bend on Saturday. Game time for the opening game of the doubleheader is 1 p.m.