March 18, 2011
CONWAY, Ark. - Senior pitcher Blake Ford gave Lamar seven strong innings on Friday night at Bear Stadium as the Cardinals stayed perfect in Southland Conference baseball action by handing host Central Arkansas a 7-1 series opening loss.
The Cardinals, who have now won eight straight, improved to 15-6 overall and 4-0 in SLC play. UCA dropped to 8-10 overall and 0-4 in the SLC and will look for its first conference victory on Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. when the two teams meet in the second game of the three-game series.
A right hander from Lufkin, Ford improved to 3-1 on the year, while lowering his team-best earned run average to 1.62, after allowing just two hits and one earned run over seven innings. Ford's only mistake in a seven-strikeout game was a fourth-inning solo homerun to Jonathan Houston that provided all of the Bears' offense.
Lamar jumped on UCA starter Evan Cox (1-3) in the third inning, putting up three runs. Pablo Salinas led off the inning with a double, and Andy Mena followed with a walk. Salinas was out at third on a bunt attempt by Ted Zentek, and Kevin Roebuck followed with a strikeout to give the Cards a pair of runners with two outs.
Senior shortstop Aaron Buchanan kept the inning alive with a single that loaded the bases, and Jeff Abt provided the big hit - a triple to right field that drove in all three Cardinals.
The Cardinals added a pair of runs in the fifth inning, chasing Cox from the game after allowing five earned runs in four innings of work. Roebuck opened the inning with a double, followed by a bunt single from Buchanan that moved Roebuck to third.
Abt, who finished with four runs batted in, drove in Roebuck with a fielder's choice to second after the Bears failed to turn the double play. LU first baseman Wade Mathis
singled through the right side, and Abt advanced to third one batter later on a Joey Latulippe
fly ball to right field. A double steal provided the Cards with the second run of the inning as Abt stole home and Mathis stole second.
With two outs in the sixth, Zentek doubled to right field off of Jackson Lowery, the Bears' third pitcher on the evening. One batter later, Roebuck tripled to right to give the Cards a 6-1 advantage.
The only drama left in the top of the ninth was whether or not senior catcher Joey Latulippe would extend his hitting streak to 10 games. With two outs, the League City product doubled home Buchanan to provide the Cardinals with their final run and keep his streak intact.
Junior Machon Trimm, a left handed pitcher from Pearland, would pitch flawlessly over the final two innings, allowing no hits and only one base runner.
Buchanan finished the day with three hits and a pair of runs scored, while Roebuck and Mathis each had two-hit games.