Feb. 20, 2011
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Lamar University notched the 1,400th victory in its storied baseball history in dramatic fashion Sunday, but victory No. 1,401 will have to wait for another day and another setting.
Kevin Roebuck slugged a walkoff home run in the ninth inning to give the Cardinals a 1-0 victory over the University of Akron, and he hit another solo blast in the top of the first inning of the finale of the Mississippi State Tournament.
Then the roof came caving in on the Cardinals. The host Bulldogs countered with 13 first-inning runs and coasted to a 17-2 laugher to complete their four-game sweep through the three-day tournament held at 7,200-seat Dudy Noble Field.
The Bulldogs' vicious first-inning bite included the first 12 batters reaching base safely, a grand slam home run by shortstop Jonathan Ogden, four Lamar pitchers parading to the mound; those pitchers facing six different bases-loaded situations, and the Cardinals committing two costly errors.
The Cardinals meekly exited the tournament with a 1-3 record and an embarrassing total of 37 strikeouts in four games.
A one-out single by Andy Mena and walks to Wade Mathis and Albert Lott set up right fielder Jude Vidrine's first major college hit, an RBI single to cut the deficit to 13-2 in the third inning, but the Bulldogs got the run back on Nick Vickerson's RBI double in the fourth. They added three more runs in the fifth and finished the game with 14 hits, while the Cardinals committed a total of four errors.
In addition to his game-winning home run in Sunday's opener against Akron, Roebuck also got Lamar's only other hit, a two-out single to left field in the sixth inning. It came off freshman right-hander Myles McVeigh, who toiled 8.1 innings, allowing only Roebuck's sixth-inning single while striking out six and not walking anyone.
McVeigh retired Cardinal second baseman Andy Mena
on a popup to second base to open the bottom of the ninth inning before giving way to junior righty Chris Bassitt, who picked up the save in Akron's 2-1 season-opening victory over the Cardinals on Friday afternoon. Roebuck, who slugged a walkoff homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to defeat the University of Houston last season, sent Bassitt's first offering sailing over the Dudy Noble Field outfield fence for Lamar's first home run of the season.
Shane Hamaker, who pitched 3.2 innings of scoreless relief, got credit for his first major college victory. The 6-foot-5, 215-pound junior transfer from Alvin Community College gave up three hits, walked one and struck out three.
Lott, the 6-3, 271-pound junior transfer from Angelina College, worked the first 5.1 innings for the Cardinals, yielding four hits while walking two and striking out three.
Senior right-hander Garrett Steward, who did not retire a batter, absorbed the loss in the Mississippi State game.
The Cardinals, who won the 2010 Southland Conference Tournament to earn their 13th NCAA Tournament berth, will play on the road again Tuesday afternoon when they take on Rice University in Houston's Reckling Park. The Cardinals and the Owls, who ranked 15th in the nation in one preseason poll, split their home-and-home series last season with Lamar winning 13-7 in Houston and Rice prevailing 7-2 in Beaumont.