March 9, 2014
BEAUMONT – Jacoby Middleton said that his walk-off single on Saturday was going to give him more confidence at the plate, and that certainly appeared to be the case on Sunday as the junior had a career outing to lead the Lamar baseball team to a 10-3 victory over Harvard at Vincent-Beck Stadium.
Middleton, a native of Grand Prairie, Texas, went 4-for-4 at the plate with three scores and four runs batted in. He also became the first Cardinal this season to hit a home run, depositing a three-run shot over the wall in left field in the eighth inning.
“Today was a pretty good day to hit,” Middleton said. “I came out with the mindset to hit everything hard, and it feels good to hit one out. This field is huge and it can be hard to hit bombs out of here, but I found a pitch that I liked and put a good swing on it. I knew it was gone when I hit it.”
Three other Cards experienced multi-hit days as well on Sunday as LU (11-6) out-hit the Ivy Leaguers 15-10. Jude Vidrine went 3-for-4 at the plate with a trio of scores and a walk, and both Tyler Sullivan and Kevin Santana had two-hit showings. In all, eight Cards recorded at least one hit.
“If you’re going to be a good ball club, you have to have a lot of big innings,” head coach Jim Gilligan said. “If you watch baseball, everything is usually going along pretty close until someone gives up a five-run inning, and I’m happy to be on the good side of one of those. We were up against a really good pitching staff, and most of this week, they really ate us up. It was a good learning experience because that’s what we’re going to have to deal with when we get into Southland play.”
Despite the offensive fireworks, Harvard (1-7) got on the board first as Mike Martin homered on the second pitch of the game from LU starter David Carver. The homer would turn out to be the only hit that Carver would give up as the Californian tossed three innings with one strikeout.
Jayson McKinley and Zach Aitken combined to toss the ensuing five frames, surrendering nine hits and a run, and Aitken was credited with his first career victory.
After the Crimson scored in the fourth, Middleton got things going in the bottom half of the frame. The Odessa College transfer was hit by a pitch and advanced to second on a wild pitch. A Sullivan single and Sam Bumpers sacrifice fly brought him home to cut the Harvard deficit in half.
Middleton was once again in the right place at the right time an inning later, tying up the game with a one-out single up the middle.
Vidrine, Brandon Provost and Middleton all singled in the seventh to load the bases with one out, and Sullivan broke the deadlock moments later with another single up the middle. Singles from Reed Seeley and Justin Eckols scored two, and a balk and a wild pitch brought two more in to give LU a commanding 7-2 advantage.
The Crimson grabbed another back in the eighth, but walks from Vidrine and Provost set the stage for Middleton’s three-run blast.
The Cards will return to action on Wednesday to take on Prairie View A&M before heading to Hammond to take on Southeastern Louisiana in the first conference series of the year.