April 14, 2013
BEAUMONT – After spending much of the past two series coming out of the bullpen, Eric Harrington made his return to the starting rotation on Sunday and tossed a gem, going a full nine innings and allowing just one score to lead the Lamar baseball team to a 5-1 win over Sam Houston State at Vincent-Beck Stadium.
Harrington, the school’s career leader in innings pitched, picked up his third complete game of the season and 14th of his career. The senior out of Groves allowed seven hits and struck out six without allowing a walk. He was also remarkably efficient, tossing 109 pitches, including 80 for strikes.
“It all started before the Southeastern series,” Harrington explained. “Coach Gilligan and I worked on some of my mechanics, and it really helped with throwing strikes. The pitches were just coming out well, and I think I had pretty good control over all of them today.”
Offensively, Aaron Olivas led the way with a 3-for-4 outing, and Darian Johnson went 1-for-2 with a solo home run in the fifth. Zach Luevanos was the only other Cardinal to collect a hit, ending 1-for-3, as LU was out-hit 7-5.
A costly Bearkat error allowed the Cards to push the first two scores across the plate in the second. SHSU first baseman Ryan O’Hearn dropped the third out of the frame, allowing Garret Autrey to reach base, and Olivas followed up with a single to right. Back-to-back walks by Luevanos and Sam Bumpers brought Autrey home, and Bumpers later beat out a throw on a Jude Vidrine fielder’s choice, allowing Olivas to score.
SHSU (20-15, 8-4 SLC) threatened to even things up in the fifth when O’Hearn led off with a double. Two-out singles by Jessie Plumlee and Carter Burgess put the tying run in scoring position, but Harrington was able to strike out Anthony Azar to end the frame.
After two quick outs in the bottom of the fifth, Johnson delivered for the Cards, depositing an 0-2 pitch over the wall in left field.
Olivas and Luevanos supplied a couple more insurance runs in the sixth, scoring Seth Dornak and Autrey to secure a second consecutive series win over a team that entered the weekend in first place in the Southland Conference.
With the win, Lamar improved to 26-11 on the year with a 6-6 mark in conference play.
“These last two weeks have been huge,” Harrington said. “Any time you can take a series from Sam Houston, it’s great because, as someone who has been here for a while, I know that they’re always a good team. Now we’ve just got to keep it going. Like any team, we’re in it to win it.”
The Cards will return to action on Wednesday with a non-conference meeting against UTSA at Vincent-Beck Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m.