March 18, 2012
BEAUMONT, Texas -
According to Lamar University head coach Jim Gilligan, the pivotal point in the Cardinals' 4-3 victory over UT Arlington on Sunday afternoon came when he got ejected from the game by plate umpire Shaylor Smith in the top of the ninth inning.
With Gilligan still soothing his temper in his office just behind Vincent-Beck Stadium's third base dugout, freshman shortstop Wayne Stanley drilled a single down the left-field line to drive in pinch-runner Joe Arechiga with the winning run with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning.
"Give this win to Scottie (Hatten, the Cardinals' 12th-season assistant coach)," said Gilligan, whose Cardinals' chalked up their first Southland Conference victory of the season on their sixth try. "He stuck with Stanley when I probably would've pinch-hit (Seth) Dornak in that situation."
Stanley, a 6-foot-1, 151-pounder from Lumberton who had only three hits in 11 at-bats entering the game, improved his batting average to .357 by going 2-for-3 at the plate, and he helped the Cardinal defenders turn a season-high four double plays.
"The only time Jim ever listens to me is when he's not around," joked Hatten upon hearing the compliment passed his way by Gilligan. "I just had a hunch Stanley would deliver a hit to where we wouldn't have to go extra innings, and that's how it turned out."
Stanley's clutch hit came after Brad Picha doubled down the left-field line, was then replaced Arechiga and second baseman David Harris received an intentional base on balls from losing pitcher Chad Nack, now 1-3.
John Gilligan, the coach's nephew and the fifth pitcher to toil for the Cardinals on the afternoon, notched his first victory of the season. He went 1 1/3 scoreless innings and struck out one batter and walked one.
did a great job," said his uncle. "He went to 3-0 on the first batter he faced but came back and got the strikeout. That was a big turning point for us."
Third baseman Darian Johnson, who tied the score at 2 in the bottom of the first inning by pulling a two-run home run over the right-field fence, led the Cardinals' 11-hit attack by going 3-for-4. Meanwhile, Harris contributed a pair of doubles while improving his average from .192 to .218.
In addition to moving to 1-5 in the league, the Cardinals improved to 7-12 on the season. The Mavericks, who won the first two games of the weekend series, fell to 13-8 overall and 3-3 in the SLC.
The Cardinals will take a break from conference play Tuesday when they will have a 6:30 p.m. home game against the University of Washington and on Wednesday when they will play a 6:30 p.m. game at No. 5-ranked Rice University. The Cardinals will return to SLC play Friday night when they will open a three-game series at Northwestern State.