Feb. 17, 2012
BEAUMONT, Texas -
Brad Picha celebrated a successful major college debut Friday night by driving in the decisive run in Lamar's University's season-opening 2-1 victory over Arkansas State in first-round play of the 2012 Lamar Classic.
Picha, a junior first baseman from Stephenville, drilled a single into right field to plate Jeff Abt with the tiebreaking run in the bottom of the eighth inning. Abt led off the inning with a base on balls, and Seth Dornak sacrificed him to second base.
The Red Wolves mounted a rally in the top of the ninth inning as Alex Potts and pinchhitter Brandon Milhouse sandwiched walks around a sacrifice bunt by Zach Maggio. As Cardinal reliefer Carter Hahn began his warmup pitches in replacement of winning pitcher Ben Coram, however, plate Eric Thompson halted the action due to a steady downpour.
The teams sat out a 53-minute rain delay in their dugouts until the umpires eventually finally decided that field conditions would not permit safe play. Therefore, the official outcome reverted to last completed inning, wiping out the Red Wolves' two walks and Maggio's sacrifice bunt.
Coram was the fourth pitcher used by Cardinal coach Jim Gilligan. He logged two-third hitless, scoreless innings and was the pitcher of record when play was stopped. Lamar starter Eric Harrington went five scoreless innings, giving up three hits and walking four.
Machon Trimm turned in 1.2 scoreless innings, and freshman right-hander Vernnon Maxwell yielded Arkansas State's lone run before giving way to Coram with one out in the eighth inning.
In addition to his clutch hit, Picha also singled in the sixth inning in going 2-for-4. Darian Johnson
also went 2-for-4, and Aaron Olivas
Portland opened the tournament by blanking Stephen F. Austin 11-0. Right-handers Kyle Kraus and J.R. Bunda combined on a three-hitter for the Pilots. Kraus struck out seven Lumberjacks and walked two in seven innings, while Bunda whiffed two and did not walk anyone over two innings.
Shortstop Kris Kauppila and catcher Ben Grubb contributed three hits each to the Pilots' 12-hit attack. Grubb slugged a solo home run in the fourth inning to extend the Pilots' lead to 9-0.
The tentative schedule for Saturday's second round has Lamar playing Portland at noon and Stephen F. Austin challenging Arkansas State at 4 p.m. Start times are subject to change, depending upon Saturday's weather conditions.