April 7, 2007
CONWAY, Ark. - Facing the possibility of getting swept in a three-game series this weekend, junior Michael Ambort strapped the Cardinals on his back by hitting two three-run home runs, the last of which provided Lamar University a 9-6 win in 10 innings over Central Arkansas Saturday afternoon in Southland Conference baseball action at UCA Field.
Lamar improved to 22-14 overall and 9-3 in SLC play. UCA dropped to 13-18 overall and 3-9 in SLC play. The Cardinals return home to host nationally-ranked Rice University Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at Vincent-Beck Stadium.
Trailing 5-3 entering the top of the ninth inning, Erik Kanaby and Ryan Baker both singled to center field. After Collin DeLome struck out, Ambort hit a 3-run home run to right center field to give Lamar a 6-5 lead. That homer tied Ambort with Morgan Walker (1993-96) for the most home runs all-time with 34.
However, the Cardinals were unable to hold on to the lead. Kevin Rawls drew a two-out walk from reliever Brian Needham. Payton Seelinger followed by reaching on a throwing error by third baseman Travis Dunson on a slow roller. Dunson's throw sailed over the head of first baseman Dan Hernandez, which allowed Rawls to score all the way from first base and tie the game at 6-6.
Brian Lloyd walked to lead off the ninth inning and Baker walked. After DeLome hit into a fielder's choice, Ambort followed with a two-out, 3-run home run to right center field to put Lamar up for good at 9-6. It was his second straight 3-run home run and made him the school's all-time home run leader with 35.
Needham (4-1) pitched the final four innings to pick up the win in relief for the Cardinals. He allowed one unearned run on no hits with one walk and four strikeouts. Jason Stutes
started but failed to record an out. Tim Erickson
came on in relief in the first inning and pitched six innings, allowing three runs, two earned, on six hits with three walks and four strikeouts.
Kanaby, who was 2-for-5 with two runs scored, started the game with a double to right center field. Baker, who was 3-for-4 with two runs scored, walked. Ambort drove in Kanaby with a single to right field. David Moore, who was 2-for-6, reached on an error to drive in Baker for a quick 2-0 lead.
UCA answered with two runs in the home half of the first. Rawls walked and Craig Nybord doubled down the left field line. Rawls scored on a wild pitch by Stutes. Matt Warren walked, which is when Erickson replaced Stutes on the mound. Kent Taylor grounded into a double play, but Nyborg scored on the play to tie the game at 2-2.
Lloyd, who was 1-for-3 with two runs scored, singled to left field in the second inning. Baker followed with an RBI double to straight away center field to put Lamar up 3-2.
The Bears responded again, scoring twice in the bottom of the second inning. Jonathan Ashworth singled to left field and Zach Dickson doubled to right center field. Graham Martin drove in Ashworth with a sacrifice fly to right field. Dickson scored on Scott Cline's squeeze bunt to put UCA up 4-3.
UCA added another run in the sixth inning to push its lead to 5-3. Dickson, who was 3-for-5 with two runs scored, singled to left field. Cline singled to left field and Dickson was able to score on an error by Kanaby in left field.
Daniel Price (2-5) took the loss in relief for UCA. He allowed three runs on two hits with three walks in one and two-third innings pitched. Starter Matt Whitaker pitched the first 8 1/3 innings, allowing six runs on 10 hits with four walks and a season-high 13 strikeouts.
Lamar pounded out 12 hits, including four for extra bases. Ambort went 3-for-6 with two runs scored and tied his career-high with seven RBI, in addition to becoming the school's all-time home run leader.