April 14, 2012
BEAUMONT - Senior Jeff Abthit a double to left field in the bottom of the sixth inning that drove in the game-winning run, and four Lamar pitchers combined to hold down the top hitting team in the Southland Conference on Saturday afternoon at Vincent-Beck Stadium, as the Cardinals picked up a 5-2 Southland Conference baseball victory over No. 20 Sam Houston State.
Playing in strong right to left winds, Abt hit a ball to left that kept tailing away from Bearkat left fielder Luke Plucheck before landing inside the left field line and driving home Darian Johnsonwith the go ahead run. Johnson had started the inning off with a double of his own.
The win improved Lamar to 13-20 overall and 6-11 in Southland Conference play, while also putting an end to the Bearkats' school-record 13-game winning streak. The two teams will meet Sunday afternoon at 1 in the deciding game of the three game series. Sunday's game will also be televised on Fox 4 in Beaumont.
Carter Hahn got the start on the mound for the Cardinals and left after 5.2 innings with a no decision. Hahn held Sam Houston to just three hits and a pair of runs while striking out three. Collin Chapman, Vernnon Maxwell and John Gilliganwould hold the Bearkats scoreless for the final three innings.
"I could tell Carter was going to be better this week than he was last weekend," said head coach Jim Gilligan. "He did a real good job for us but just ran out of gas a little bit. I thought Chapman did a good job coming in but lost his focus and Maxwell got us out of the (eighth) inning but lost his focus and then John came in and did a good job.
"They're a really good ball club and that's a big, big win for us. That's one of the biggest wins for us in a while and now it comes down to the game three tomorrow."
Lamar opened the scoring with a pair of runs in the second inning off Sam Houston State ace Justin Jackson. Abt walked with one out and moved to third on a Seth Dornak double to left. Catcher Zach Luevanosdrove in the first run of the game on a ground out to second base.
Shortstop Aaron Olivasfollowed with a single down the first base line to drive in Dornak and stake the Cardinals to a 2-0 lead.
The Bearkats, who started the day with a robust .310 team batting average, answered with a run in the top of the third inning. Catcher John Hale led off with a triple to right field and scored just one batter later as second baseman Jessie Plumlee singled up the middle for one of his two hits on the day.
The Bearkats (24-10 overall, 14-3 in the SLC) would tie the game in the sixth to chase Hahn from the game. Corey Toups was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and Colt Atwood followed with a walk. Plucheck, who was 2-for-3 on the day, bunted both players into scoring position. After Anthony Azar was intentionally walked, right fielder Jake Arrington hit a ground out to second that scored the run.
Chapman, who earned his first win of the year to improve to 1-2, came in and got the final out of the sixth inning. He would finish with 1.2 innings worked, allowing no runs on just two hits. Gilligan got the final two batters of the game out to earn his first save of the year.
Lamar added runs in the seventh and eighth innings to pad its lead. Jude Vidrine drew a one out walk in the seventh which prompted the Bearkats to pull Jackson. Allen Scott came on in relief and uncorked a wild pitch that moved Vidrine to second. LU's right fielder would come home on a RBI single from Garret Autrey.
Jackson took the loss to fall to 6-3, allowing four earned runs on seven hits in 6.1 innings of work.
Lamar's final run was charged to Marshall Davis in the eighth inning as Vidrine drove home pinch runner Joe Arechigawith a ground ball that Sam Houston could not turn into a double play.
Luevanos and Dornak each had two of Lamar's eight hits, while five different Cardinals drove in one run apiece.