Site: Cleveland, Tenn. (Olympic Field)
Scores: No. 18 Madonna 8, No. 24 LSU-Shreveport 0
Records: MU (37-9), LSU-S (40-17)
Next MU event: Friday, May 10 at No. 3 Lee (Cleveland, Tenn.) – 3:30 p.m.
CLEVELAND, Tenn. – Behind a stellar performance on the mound from Matthew Cook (Dresden, Ontario / Lambton Kent Secondary) and clutch hits from its offense, the No. 18-ranked Madonna University baseball team opened the 2013 NAIA National Championship Opening Round with an 8-0 victory over No. 24-ranked Louisiana State University Shreveport at Olympic Field.
Cook tossed a complete game shutout, allowing just five hits while striking out six and issuing just one walk. The senior righty did not allow a runner past second base all day while benefiting from three double plays turned from his defense.
Senior center fielder Alex Charles (Farmington Hills, Mich. / Brother Rice Catholic) led MU with a career-best 4-for-4 day at the plate with a run batted in. Senior left fielder Steve Pelletier (Farmington Hills, Mich. / Harrison) and junior catcher Donny Holland (White Lake, Mich. / Lakeland) both added two hits apiece with senior third baseman Justin Cook (Dresden, Ontario / Lambton Kent Secondary) and Pelletier each driving in a pair of runs for the Crusaders.
MU went quietly in both the first and second while Cook took advantage of two double play ground balls to end the first two innings at the plate for LSU-S.
The first three Crusaders reached in the top of the third, starting with senior designated hitter Spencer Sarel (Brighton, Mich. / Brighton). Sarel – who had not seen game action since March 9 due to a facial injury – roped a single into center to open the frame. Holland followed with a single before Charles reached on a bunt single that loaded the bases. Freshman second baseman Shane Dokey (Howell, Mich. / Brighton) scored Sarel with a sacrifice fly to put MU in front 1-0. Senior right fielder Brad Lineberry (Canton, Mich. / Plymouth) followed with a single through the right side that scored sophomore Mike Tibbits (Plymouth, Mich. / Detroit Catholic Central) who was running for Holland, to give MU a 2-0 lead.
MU tacked on two more runs in the fourth as Pelletier led off with a bunt single and moved all the way to third on a throwing error by LSU-S. Freshman first baseman John Lauro (Rochester Hills, Mich. / University of Detroit Jesuit) doubled to right center to score Pelletier to make it 3-0. After a sacrifice bunt by Holland moved Lauro to third, Charles singled through the left side scoring Lauro for a 4-0 edge.
Cook worked out of a two on, two out jam in the bottom of the fourth before getting a strike out – caught stealing double play to end the sixth and keep LSU-S scoreless.
The Crusaders added four runs – all coming with two outs – in the top of the ninth for the 8-0 final. Dokey reached on a one-out walk and after stealing second, moved to third on a fielder's choice off of Lineberry's bat that recorded the second MU out of the inning at the plate. An intentional walk to junior shortstop Victor Barron (Fowlerville, Mich. / Fowlerville) loaded the bases for Justin Cook who drove in a Dokey and Lineberry for a 6-0 lead. Pelletier then singled to left to score Barron and pinch runner Ben Matigian (Livonia, Mich. / Churchill) to cap the MU scoring in the ninth. The four runs in the ninth brought MU's two-out run total to five for the day.
Matthew Cook then sent LSU-S down in order in the ninth to wrap up the shutout. Cook (8-1) sent the final nine Pilots down in order in the victory.
Cade Bowen (5-4) took the loss for the Pilots. Bowen threw the first eight and a third innings, giving up five runs and striking out four while not allowing a walk. KJ Semien and Greg Friesen combined for all five of LSU-S' hits with Friesen posting the lone extra base hit, a leadoff double in the seventh.
MU advances in the winner's bracket on Friday and will play at 3:30 p.m. The Crusaders will take on No. 3-ranked and host Lee.
Contact: Patrick Moore (734) 432-5834
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