March 1, 2013
BEAUMONT – Senior pitcher Eric Harrington didn’t feel he had his best stuff on Friday afternoon, but it was still good enough to toss a complete game victory to lead the Lamar baseball team to a 5-1 decision over Columbia at Vincent-Beck Stadium.
“I just had to go out there and compete today,” Harrington said. “I don’t think I had my best stuff, but I still felt pretty good. Everything’s been pretty consistent for me so far this year, and our offense has been putting up some runs too. That really helps me get through some of these games.”
It was Harrington’s second consecutive complete game victory and the fourth straight by a Lamar pitcher this season. The Groves native, who was also celebrating his 23rd birthday on Friday, ended the game with just five hits allowed and improved to 3-0 on the season.
“It was a really good ballgame with two pitchers out there dealing,” head coach Jim Gilligan said. “Eric did a great job today, and he’s a tough kid. I don’t think anybody has pitched more than he has in his career. I was proud of his outing, and I love to watch him pitch. He’s got that focus and attitude that we try to instill in all of our guys.”
Lamar improved to 8-2 on the year, the best start for the program since 2010. Columbia fell to 0-1.
The Cardinals gave Harrington some help early, as Brad Picha led off in the second with a hit and a Seth Dornak walk put two on. Aaron Olivas laid down a sacrifice bunt to put them both in scoring position, and a Brandon Provost groundout gave LU the lead. Garret Autrey followed up with an infield single to score the second.
After the Lions cut the lead in half with a two-out rally in the fifth, Sam Bumpers
knocked in a run in the bottom of the frame to restore the two-run advantage at 3-1.
Bumpers was 2-for-3 with a run batted in and a score.
V.J. Bunner tacked on some insurance runs in the eighth, depositing a ball just left of the batter’s eye in center for a two-run homer, the fourth of his career.
“The first guy we faced was hitting his spots and throwing pretty well,” Bunner said of Columbia starter David Speer. “When they brought the new pitcher in, I was looking for a pitch middle-in, and he gave it to me. I was just trying to get barrel on it, and it ended up getting out.”
Bunner ended 1-for-4 with two RBI.
The Cards will continue the weekend series vs. Columbia with a doubleheader on Saturday. First pitch in game one is set for 1 p.m., and the second will start approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first.