March 8, 2013
BEAUMONT – Darian Johnson knocked in a pair of runs and Eric Harrington picked up his fourth victory on the mound this season as the Lamar baseball team opened its weekend series with Massachusetts with a 4-2 win at Vincent-Beck Stadium on Friday night.
The Cardinals have now won eight consecutive games, the longest winning streak for the team since 2009. LU improved to 12-2 on the year, which also marked the best start since the 2009 campaign.
Massachusetts dropped to 1-3.
Harrington entered the meeting on the heels of back-to-back complete game victories, but he just missed extending the streak to three, going eight frames and striking out nine. The Groves native ended with two runs allowed off eight hits.
Johnson was the only Cardinal to pick up multiple hits, going 3-for-5 at the plate with a pair of runs batted in. The Minutemen actually out-hit Lamar on the night 9-7.
Johnson and V.J. Bunner combined for the game’s opening score in the third as Bunner earned a one-out walk and later scored on a Johnson single through the right side.
The duo was involved once again in the fifth. Zach Luevanos led off with a single, and a one-out Bunner double brought him home. Johnson cashed in with a two-out single up the middle to hand the Cards a 3-0 advantage after five.
Bunner ended the night 1-for-3 with two scores and a pair of walks.
The edge would be short-lived, however, as the visitors from the Atlantic-10 Conference struck for a pair of scores in the sixth. The Minutemen loaded the bases without recording an out, and Nik Campero earned a walk to bring the first run home. Harrington bounced back, inducing a double play, which allowed one run to score, and then struck out Jeff Cavanaro to get out of the frame.
Lamar added an insurance run in the seventh. Jude Vidrine
was hit by a pitch and later advanced to third on a Johnson double before scoring on an Aaron Plunkett wild pitch.
UMass would threaten late, but the LU defense brought it home with a double play in each of the final two innings to keep the Minutemen at bay.
David Carver was the beneficiary of the second double play, getting out of trouble thanks to a great play by Card third baseman Aaron Olivas to pick up his second save of the season.
Saturday’s doubleheader is set to begin at 1 p.m. Also, fans are asked to remember that due to road closures associated with the Gusher Marathon, access to Vincent-Beck Stadium is limited to the Rolfe Christopher entrance (near the soccer/softball complex).