March 18, 2005
BEAUMONT - Senior Chase Richards went 4-for-5 for the Lamar, but Texas-Arlington came out on top with a 12-6 win in a wild Southland Conference opener for both schools Friday night at Vincent-Beck Stadium.
The game was played under protest from the bottom of the fourth inning on as Lamar coach Jim Gilligan disagreed with an umpires call that cost the Cardinals a run and ended the inning. With the bases loaded and one out, Michael Ambort hit what looked to be a sacrifice fly to left field that would have made the score 7-5. However, the home plate umpired, on appeal from UTA, called Murray Gilbertson out for leaving third base too early.
Lamar dropped to 15-8 overall and 0-1 in SLC play. UTA improved to 11-12 and 1-0. The Cardinals and Mavericks will continue series today at 2 p.m. and close out the three-game set Sunday at 1 p.m.
Senior right-hander Scott Vander Weg, who is 2-2 with a 3.73 earned run average, is expected to start for Lamar. Jake Baxter (4-0, 1.15 ERA), who was scratched in favor of Michael Gardner on Friday, is UTA's probable starter.
Both teams exchanged single runs early. UTA scored in the top of the first inning. Nathan Warrick was hit by the first pitch of the game from LU starter Derrick Gordon (2-3) and scored on Ryan Nelson's double to right center field.
The Cardinals answered with a run in the bottom of the second. C.J. Ebarb led off the inning with a single to right field. He advanced to second on Will Henderson's ground out and scored on Jo Jo Haney's single to center field.
UTA scored six times and sent 12 batters to the plate in a wild fourth inning. Scott Williams led off the inning with a single and advanced to third on Aaron Batlle's double to center field. Both scored on David McLeod's single to right field. McLeod advanced to third on a fielding error by Gilbertson.
Boomer Welles followed with an RBI single to right field. After Josh McSpadden's sacrifice bunt, Warrick drove in Welles with a single to center field and advanced to second on an error by Ebarb. Ryan Nelson drew a walk to load the bases and Williams also walked to force in a run, which chased Gordon from the game. Trey Swor walked Cary Nelson to drive in the sixth run of the inning to put UTA up 7-1.
Lamar responded with three runs in the home half of the fourth inning. Adrian Cantu walked to lead off the inning and Ambort singled to right field with one out. After Henderson struck out looking, Haney walked and Chase Richards drove in Cantu with an infield single. A throwing error by Welles at third allowed both Haney and Ambort to score to make the score 7-4.
The Cardinals were poised to cut into the lead against in the fifth inning. Gilbertson led off with a walk and Jeremy Gray and Cantu both singled to load the bases. After Ebarb flew out to shallow left field, Ambort followed with another fly ball to left field. This time, Gilbertson tagged up on the play and was safe at home plate. But the umpire ruled that he left the base too early, which ended the inning and resulted in Lamar playing the rest of the game under protest.
Lamar added two more runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to cut the lead to 7-6. Ebarb walked with one out and scored on Ambort's double to center field. Ambort, who was 2-for-5 with two runs scored, advanced to third on a passed ball and scored on Richards' infield single.
UTA extended its lead to 10-6 with a pair of runs in the eighth inning. Williams, who was 2-for-4 with two RBI, drove in a run with a single down the right field line. Batlle, who was 2-for-5 with two RBI, drove in two runs with a single to left field. The Mavericks closed out the scoring with two more in the ninth.
Gardner (2-2) picked up the win for UTA, allowing four runs, two earned, on 10 hits with five strikeouts and four walks in six innings pitched. Blake Pierson pitched the final two and one-third innings, allowing no runs on two hits to earn his third save of the season.
Gordon allowed seven runs on six hits with five strikeouts and three walks in three and two-third innings pitched in taking the loss for Lamar. Haney was 2-for-3 with a run scored and a RBI at the plate and Richards was 4-for-5 with two RBI.