ST. AMANT — The result of batting around in consecutive innings provided St. Amant a seemingly comfortable nine-run lead after four innings over Notre Dame.
An inning later, two throwing errors, coupled with some ineffective relief pitching, placed the Gators in a precarious position.
St. Amant reliever Austin Fox, who struggled since an early season injury, gave his best performance to date and helped the Gators hold on for a 13-11 victory Thursday over Notre Dame in the South Louisiana Shootout at Gator Park.
“We’ve got to pitch better, and when they put the ball in play, we’ve got to make plays,” St. Amant coach Troy Templet said. “After we had a big inning, we gave up a big inning, and that’s unacceptable. We know what we have to do to get better. We’re young and inexperienced in places and it seems to come out at the wrong times and we’re trying to get over that.”
St. Amant (9-6) banged out 15 hits with designated hitter Zachary Lipoma (3-for-3, 2 RBIs) and second baseman Adam Sevario (3-5, RBI) leading the way with three hits apiece.
The Gators produced a 13-4 lead through four innings, batting around in the third and fourth innings for 11 runs on 10 hits.
Lipoma’s one-out, RBI-single to left broke a 2-all tie, catcher Ivan Prejean (2-4) greeted reliever Cameron Nelson with a two-run double and left fielder Justin Duhon (2-2) capped the third with an RBI double.
“It wasn’t the start we wanted,” Notre Dame coach Steve Soper said. “It’s one thing with our kids whether we’re up 10 or down 10, we play the game one way. If ever there’s an example,we showed that (Thursday night).”
The Gators added run-scoring hits in the fourth from Sevario, center fielder Briggs Bourgeois (2-4, 2 RBIs) and shortstop Brock Bowen (2-5, 2 RBIs) during their six-run fourth to lead 13-4.
Notre Dame (7-6) answered with six runs on five hits in the fifth, an inning that turned on a pair of throwing errors that opened the door for six unearned runs.
When Nick Hanks (2-5, four RBIs) dropped a two-run single in left and Taylor Faulk walked with the bases loaded, the Pioneers trailed 13-10 after eight straight batters had safely reached base.
“I think we got too comfortable and weren’t focused and ready for each play that was going on,” Bowen said. “We were kind of going through the motions when we needed to be ready and the people in the infield weren’t giving support to the pitchers and they walked some people.”
Fox got a one-pitch out to close the fifth and allowed only Jacob Vicknair’s RBI-groundout in the sixth. He worked around a one-out walk, getting a game-ending double play after a strikeout.
“We know we have to pitch better and play defense,” Templet said. “If we have the same quality at bats, we’ll have a chance.”