Feb. 14, 2014
BEAUMONT – Up 7-6 vs. Marist with two outs in the ninth and the tying run barreling towards home, Jude Vidrine needed to make a great throw from centerfield to end the game.
Fortunately for the Lamar baseball team, he did.
The senior linked up with first baseman Tyler Sullivan, who hit catcher Brandon Provost for the tag at the plate to secure an opening night victory for the Cardinals at Vincent-Beck Stadium.
“Jude just had a great throw from center,” Provost said. “He hit the cut-off perfect, and then Tyler made a great throw home. I saw the runner in the corner of my eye, and I knew we had him. They put me in great position to block the plate. I have a lot of confidence in our team, and we have a lot of guys who can come through and make a play for us.”
Vidrine was the primary engine in an LU offense that appeared to be on its way to an easier victory in the early goings, scoring five over the game’s first two innings. The Nederland native started off his senior season with a 1-for-3 day at the plate with two walks, two runs batted in, a steal and a score.
As one would expect from a team that lost seven starters from the everyday lineup a year ago, the rest of the offense was supplied by newcomers. Reed Seeley grabbed hold of the three-hole, ending 2-for-5 with a score and a pair RBI, and Kevin Santana went to work in clean-up duty, going 2-for-4 with two runs and an RBI. Sullivan, who also showed off his defensive capabilities for much of the evening, finished 2-for-4, scoring once and knocking in another.
As a team, LU out-hit the visitors from New York 10-9.
On the mound, Collin Chapman got his first start since going down with an injury early last year, tossing four innings and allowing three hits and two runs (one earned). Lance Warren came on in relief to notch the victory, giving up three runs in 3.1 innings of work, and Brandon Kirkham allowed a score over the final five outs to pick up the save.
Vidrine got things going for the Cards in the first, earning a one-out walk, and moving into scoring position on a Sullivan single. Santana hammered a double to left to bring in the first score, and Seeley singled to right to give LU a quick 3-0 lead.
After Marist took advantage of fielding error to reclaim a run in the second, Provost and Mason Salazar led off the bottom half of the frame with a walk and a hit-by-pitch, respectively. Wayne Stanley laid down a sacrifice bunt to set the stage for Vidrine, who doubled the LU lead with a single up the middle.
The Red Foxes (0-2) would pull back within arm’s reach with a score in each the fourth and sixth innings, but a trio of singles from Sullivan, Provost and Stanley grabbed one back for LU in the sixth. Jacoby Middleton singled home another in the seventh to re-establish the four-run deficit.
Warren hit a pair of batters to lead off the eighth, and a wild pitch later in the frame allowed the first to score. Zach Passerelle followed up with a single to pull Marist back within two and chase the senior left-hander from the mound. Brandon Kirkham made the trot from the bullpen and induced a pair of ground balls to get out of the jam.
Marist’s Pat Welsh led off the top of the ninth with a double, and back-to-back groundouts allowed him to score. Joey Aiola singled to center field, and Nick McQuail singled in the ensuing at-bat, which resulted in the game’s dramatic ending.
Lamar will return to action at the YMBL Cardinal Classic on Saturday with a doubleheader, taking on UIC at 2 p.m. before coming back for another meeting with Marist at 6 p.m.