Lamar can't hold lead in 7-5 loss at Northwestern State
March 23, 2012
NATCHITOCHES, La. - Northwestern State rallied for three eighth-inning runs Friday night to hand Lamar University a 7-5 defeat in the opener of a three-game Southland Conference series at Brown-Stroud Field.
The Demons, who retained their tie for first place in the league standings, began their winning rally with a leadoff double into the gap in right center by centerfielder Drew Helenihi. As right fielder Drew Buckley sacrificed him to third base with a bunt, Lamar pitcher Eric Harrington threw the ball into the Demon bullpen for a two-base error, allowing Helenihi to tie the score at 5.
Catcher Nick Purdy then singled to centerfield to drive in Buckley with the go-ahead run. Harrington issued an intentional walk to left fielder Will Watson then gave way to reliever John Gilligan.
The Demons, who improved to 8-12 on the season and 5-2 in the SLC, pushed across an insurance run on an RBI groundout by pinch-hitter Shaun Hoover.
The loss dropped the Cardinals to 8-13 overall and 1-6 in the league standings. Harrington, who fell to 0-4 on the season, yielded nine hits in 7 1/3 innings and struck out three batters while walking four.
Senior right-hander Joe Scanio, who relieved Demon starter Colin Bear with two men out in the sixth inning, was credited with the win that evened his record at 2-2. Left-hand reliever Mason Melotakis pitched a scoreless ninth inning and earned his fourth save of the season.
Lamar put up a run in the first inning, and Northwestern State matched it in the second, but the Demons began taking control with a three-run third. The Demons' first run of the inning scored on a throwing error by Lamar catcher Thomas Henk on a double steal, and the next two came in on an RBI single by Buckley and an RBI double by Purdy.
The Cardinals retied the score at 4 by rallying for three fifth-inning runs. Designated hitter Seth Dornak, who led the Cards with three hits in four at-bats, got things started with a single to right centerfield, and third baseman Darian Johnson followed with a single to right field.
After left fielder Jeff Abt struck out, first baseman Brad Picha drew a base on balls to load the bases with two men out. Henk followed with another walk to drive in a run, and centerfielder Garret Autrey drove a two-run single down the left field line to tie the score.
The Cardinals gained the lead in the eighth inning when second baseman David Harris came through with a one-out single, stole second base and advanced to third on a groundout by pinch-hitter Zach Luevanos. Harris scored the tie-breaking run moments later on a balk by Scanio.
The teams will resume the series with a 2 p.m. game Saturday, also at Brown-Stroud Field.