March 3, 2011
BEAUMONT, Texas -
San Francisco pushed across two 11th-inning runs Thursday night to defeat Lamar University 3-1 in the opening round of the 2011 YMBL/Cardinal Classic.
The Dons took advantage of two wild pitches and an error and needed only one hit in the decisive inning, but it was a big one - an RBI double to right-center field by Nik Balog. Connor Bernatz opened the inning and advanced to third base on a sacrifice by Adam Clear followed by a wild pitch by losing pitcher Stephen Tromblee.
Bernatz scored the go-ahead run when Cardinal first baseman Wade Mathis failed to handle Mason Morioka's hard-hit ground ball. Balog followed with his double before reliever Andrew Beasley pitched his way out of the inning.
The Cardinals, who fell to 6-5 with their second consecutive loss, received a slim glimmer of hope when Jude Vidrine doubled to right center with one out in the bottom of the 11th. Matt Hiserman, the eighth pitcher used by Don coach Nino Giarratano in the three-hour, 16-minute marathon, then enticed a groundout to third base by Pablo Salinas before striking out pinch-hitter Scott Pasket to end the game.
The Cardinals scored their lone run in the third inning on a single to right-center by Kevin Roebuck and Mathis' RBI double to center field.
The Dons tied the score in the ninth inning on a walk to Stephen Yarrow, a sacrifice by Jared Denham, a wild pitch and Balog's RBI single off Tromblee's leg.
The Dons' comeback tainted a strong, seven-inning pitching performance by Cardinal starter Blake Ford. The senior right-hander from Lufkin yielded only two hits, while striking out five and walking three.
In Thursday's tournament opener, second baseman Parker Hipp hit a bases-loaded single into center field to drive in Chuck Howard with the decisive run in New Mexico State's 6-5 victory over Cal State-Northridge. The win kept the Aggies undefeated in the early going with a 9-0 record, while the Matadors dropped to 5-4 on the season.
Friday's tournament schedule calls for San Francisco to play New Mexico State at 1 p.m., while the host Cardinals will take on Cal State-Northridge at 6:30 p.m. Three games are on tap for Saturday, and the tournament will concludes with a Lamar vs. Cal State-Northridge game at 1 p.m. on Sunday.