LSU Shreveport beats Loyola to force winner-take-all matchup for NAIA World Series berth

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Loyola Wolf Pack Baseball at LSU Shreveport

SHREVEPORT, La. – The Loyola Wolf Pack entered Wednesday’s NAIA National Championship Opening Round Championship needing one win to advance to the NAIA World Series, while LSU Shreveport needed two. The top-seeded Pilots forced a winner-take-all matchup with the Wolf Pack after their 16-2 win.

LSUS had to beat Lyon College earlier Wednesday to set up the matchup with Loyola. The Pack and the Pilots will square off one more time with the season on the line at 11 a.m. on Thursday. Loyola is seeking its first-ever trip to Lewiston, Idaho, and the NAIA World Series.

After putting up 14 runs in their early morning matchup against the Scots, LSU Shreveport continued by scoring the first three runs of the championship game against the Pack. It wasn’t until the fourth inning that Loyola first got on the scoreboard, as an RBI single to left from Gabriel Trastoy drove Jake Mills home to make it 3-1 in favor of LSUS.

Loyola had a chance to take the lead with two runners on in the fifth inning, but a potential home run hit from Luke Clement was ruled barely foul, and the Pilots would eventually retire the side to keep Loyola at one run.

The game broke open in the seventh inning, where back-to-back home runs from LSUS, including a grand slam, were part of a big 10-run inning for the top seed. Loyola got one more run in the bottom of the frame as Payton Alexander brought Kason Cullins home with a single to right field, but the game was out of reach.

Loyola left 13 runners on base throughout the game, including nine in scoring position.

Allen Dennis had one of his best hitting games of the year, going 4-for-5 at the plate. His first hit of the game was a double, bringing his career total to 54 doubles. He’s now tied for Loyola’s all-time record for most doubles in a career.

Kason Cullins also had a good day at the plate, recording three hits in four at-bats. It was his third game this season with at least three hits.

Despite the loss, the Wolf Pack totaled 12 hits, the second time the team has had double-digit hits in the Opening Round.

Luke Clement’s long on-base and hitting streaks came to an end on Wednesday. In a 36-game stretch from March 5 to May 17, Clement recorded 62 hits in 141 at-bats, a .440 batting average. He also had a hit in his previous 22 games before today.

The longest streak on the team now belongs to Dennis, who has reached base in 25 consecutive games, and he has a hit in the last nine.

Monday, May 16:

Game 1: #4 Loyola def. #5 Fisher College, 13-2

Game 2: #3 Lyon College def. #2 Science and Arts, 10-4

Game 3: #4 Loyola def. #1 LSU Shreveport, 7-4

Tuesday, May 17:

Game 4: #2 Science and Arts def. #5 Fisher College, 13-2, Fisher College eliminated

Game 5: #4 Loyola def. #3 Lyon College, 9-5

Game 6: #1 LSU Shreveport def. #2 Science and Arts, 10-2, Science and Arts eliminated

Wednesday, May 18:

Game 7: #1 LSU Shreveport def. #3 Lyon College 14-6, Lyon College Eliminated

Game 8: #1 LSU Shreveport def. #4 Loyola, 13-2

Thursday, May 19:

Game 9: #1 LSU Shreveport vs #4 Loyola, Championship Game – 11 a.m.

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