LAKE CHARLES -- Three 1st-inning errors put Central in the hole Thursday against St. Louis Catholic in the opener of a three-game road series.
One big swing that resulted in the Saints’ only hit of the night did enough damage late to stick the Wildcats with a 4-1 loss.
Central (7-4-1) produced only three hits in a second straight loss, but managed to grab a quick 1-0 lead with two of those in the 1st inning. Quint Guerin led the game with a single to center field, stole second and advanced to third on a passed ball. Brant Chauvin walked to put runners on the corners and the Wildcats manufactured a run when Brant Husser’s bunt turned into an RBI hit.
That lead withered quickly when Central’s defense crumbled in the bottom of the frame. Hunter Arnold hit the first St. Louis batter and got the first out on a comebacker that he turned into a 1-4 fielder’s choice.
Saints’ pitcher Logan Gray reached on Chauvin’s misplay at second base, the first of the three errors that blended together to create the tying run. A two-out passed ball plated the second before Arnold struck out Evan Joubert to end the inning.
From there, Gray and Arnold locked up in a fabulous duel with each retiring 12 of the 14 batters they faced over the next 4 innings. Central had a golden chance to push home a run in the top of the 6th inning when Husser led off with a double. But Gray fanned Carson Balthazar and wiggled off the hook when Drew Lasseigne’s liner to center field turned into a double play when Blake Granger gunned down Husser trying to advance to third base.
The missed chance stung more when the Saints scored two insurance runs in the bottom of the inning. David Nolen reached on an error and Gus Milligan cranked a home run to left field against Wildcats’ reliever Hunter Edwards for a 4-1 cushion.
Gray finished off his gem by getting Central in order in the 7th, including his 10th strikeout. Arnold was the tough-luck loser after tossing 6 no-hit innings with 7 Ks and three walks.
The two teams meet in a doubleheader starting at 4 p.m. Friday.
ST. LOUIS 4, CENTRAL
Central 100 000 0 -- 1 3 3
St. Louis 200 002 x -- 4 1 0
Hunter Arnold, Hunter Edwards (6) and Drew Lasseigne; Logan Gray. W – Gray. L – Arnold. 2B: Central – Brant Husser. HR: St. Louis – Gus Milligan. Records: Central 7-4-1, St. Louis 4-7. Up next: Central at St. Louis (DH), 4 p.m. Friday.