Feb. 23, 2013
BEAUMONT – After being called to action earlier than expected on Friday night, the Cardinal bullpen didn’t have much to do on Saturday as both Collin Chapman and Eric Harrington notched complete game victories to lead the Lamar baseball team to a 2-0 day over visiting Washington at Vincent-Beck Stadium, winning 3-1 in the opener and coming from behind for a 6-3 win in the second.
“The pitching on both sides today was pretty good, and it was just a good day of baseball,” head coach Jim Gilligan said. “I was very pleased with the way we pitched today. A day like this makes me feel good about conference play. We’re going to be able to run three good pitchers out there, and taking two out of three from a team like Washington is pretty good.”
After weathering an uneasy opening frame, Chapman was lights out for the Cards for the rest of the game, shutting down a Washington offense that registered 15 hits a night ago. The sophomore out of Leander walked two and allowed just six hits with one earned run over the nine frames. He also struck out four.
“It was awesome, and I can’t stop smiling,” Chapman said of his performance. “Last week, I was trying to overthrow a little bit, and I knew that I was going to try and work down in the zone this week. The coaches gave me an opportunity, and I feel like I made the most of it.”
In the second game, Harrington sustained a minor injury to his finger before getting back on track for his 12th career complete game. He gave up three scores, all on a home run in the third, on nine hits with a pair of walks.
“My nail cracked in the first inning, and I couldn’t get my curveball going,” Harrington revealed. “That’s what I gave up the home run on, and then from there on out, I got rid of it and stuck with my slider and it worked. I didn’t really plan on being taken out. If I feel like I have figured out a team, I’m going to go all nine.”
Both pitchers were remarkably effective on the day, with Chapman tossing 100 pitches with 71 strikes and Harrington throwing 105 with 74.
After surrendering the opening tally in the first inning of game one, the Cards responded with three scores in the bottom half. Back-to-back doubles by V.J. Bunner and Jude Vidrine pushed the equalizer across, and a Brad Picha single gave Lamar the lead. A Brandon Provost groundout brought the third score home.
Both Bunner and Aaron Olivas led the LU offense with two hits apiece and the Cards out-hit the Huskies 7-6.
From there on out it turned into a pitching duel of sorts with UW’s Nick Palewicz tossing a scoreless ensuing five frames, but picking up the loss. However, Chapman proved to be better, not allowing a hit after the fourth inning and sitting down the last 12 hitters of the game down in order.
The day’s second game proved to be much more dramatic as the Cards rode a four-run eighth inning rally to secure the victory.
Zach Luevanos played the role of hero this time, knocking in a pair with a one-out single up the middle and helping a third across in the bottom of the frame to put the Lamar in the driver’s seat late.
“Coach Gilligan made it a point to tell me to hit something up so that I didn’t hit into a double play,” Luevanos explained. “I had to make sure I got a good pitch to hit, and I just battled it a bit and poked it up the middle.”
“I’ve got a lot of confidence in Luevanos every time he gets up there,” Gilligan said. “He’s going to hit the ball hard somewhere, and that’s what we needed. He did a great job in that situation.”
Luevanos was 2-for-4 on the day with a pair of runs batted in.
LU drew first blood in the second as Olivas laced a one-out double down the right field line in the second. A Luevanos single and Garret Autrey walk loaded the bases, and Sam Bumpers sent a deep fly ball to left center to put the Cards up 1-0.
However, Washington mounted a response in the third as back-to-back singles by Andrew Ely and Brian Wolfe set the stage for a Robert Pehl homer over the left field wall.
After going down in order in each of the third, fourth and fifth innings, Vidrine got things going again for Lamar, depositing a ball beyond the fences in left center to cut the deficit to one. With Washington reeling, the Cards were looking to strike for the equalizer, but the game-tying run was stranded on third after Luevanos hit a deep fly to left.
After UW’s Zach Wright tossed a hitless sixth and seventh, Tyler Kane took to the mound for the Huskies in the eighth, but he was much less successful. Darian Johnson, Picha and Seth Dornak strung together three consecutive singles to bring the game even at 3-3. Olivas followed up with another single to load the bases and set the stage for Luevanos.
Unlike the sixth, the catcher delivered sending a ball into centerfield and pushing two runs across. He tried to stretch for a second base on the play, drawing a throw and allowing Picha to cross home for the game’s final tally.
Johnson, Dornak and Olivas joined Luevanos in the multiple-hit column, and the Cards out-hit the Huskies 11-9.
Lamar will return to Vincent-Beck on Sunday as the two sides will meet for the final game of the YMBL Cardinal Classic. Lamar will be going for a second straight series victory, and David Carver is slated to get his first career start on the mound. First pitch is set for 1 p.m.