Feb. 16, 2014
BEAUMONT – It was yet another dramatic day at Vincent-Beck Stadium on Sunday afternoon as UIC mounted a torrid late comeback to force extra innings against the Lamar baseball team. However, Jacoby Middleton was able to beat out a throw to first on a game-ending fielder’s choice to put out the Flames’ chances and give the Cardinals an 8-7 victory.
The Odessa College transfer, who made a game-saving diving catch in right field to end a UIC rally in the ninth, walked to the plate with the bases loaded and one out in the 10th. Middleton hit a groundball to short, which appeared to be destined for a double play, but he was able to slide into the first and narrowly beat the throw.
“All I was thinking about was to step up after yesterday’s loss and put the ball in play,” Middleton revealed. “This is a big win for us. We didn’t start off the season as well as we would’ve liked, but winning a game like this is just one of the steps that we have to take to compete for a conference championship. It feels good to get the win like that, and I’m just glad to be a part of this team.”
Middleton finished the day 3-for-6 at the plate with a pair of RBI and a score. He’s now the team leader at the plate, finishing the weekend with a .412 average.
If it was fitting for the player who made a game-saving catch to knock in the winning run, it was even more fitting for that run to be scored by senior Jude Vidrine, who squelched another UIC rally in the top of the 10th, gunning down John Coen at the plate to get the Cards out of another bases-loaded jam.
Vidrine, who ended 2-for-6 on the day with two runs, has now logged three outfield assists in four games.
As a team, the Cards (2-2) out-hit the Flames 16-15 with eight of nine starters registering at least one hit. Six picked up multiple, led by Tyler Sullivan’s 3-for-5 day with a pair of runs.
made the start on the mound, and put in a career day, tossing seven frames without allowing an earned run. However, it came apart a bit in the eighth, as he allowed two to reach base before being pulled for J.T. Autrey. Angelle gave up seven hits on the day, allowing three runs (two earned) and striking out three while walking just one.
Autrey and Wade combined to allow five hits and four runs over the game’s final two innings, and freshman Brent Janak pitched a scoreless 10th to earn the victory in his collegiate debut.
LU sent nine men to the plate to start off the game, scoring five times and grabbing a commanding hold of the game. Vidrine laced a one-out double down the right field line, and Reed Seeley singled down the left field line to get things going. A wild pitch brought the first run across, and a Kevin Santana single and Sullivan walk loaded the bases for Middleton. He would single and Justin Eckols walked to bring two more in. A two-out Mason Salazar single accounted from the other two scores.
Each side traded a run in the second, and the game turned into a pitching duel over the ensuing six innings, until the Flames broke through for three in the eighth.
A Middleton single and a UIC throwing error allowed LU to reclaim a run in the bottom of the frame, but three more runs in the ninth for the visitors from Chicago sent the two teams into a second extra-innings game in as many days.
LU will return to action at Vincent-Beck on Wednesday as Texas Southern makes the short trek to Beaumont. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.