April 15, 2012
BEAUMONT – Junior Brad Picha went 2-for-3 with two runs batted in but needed some help as Lamar University dropped the series finale to No. 20 Sam Houston State 5-3 Sunday afternoon in Southland Conference baseball action at Vincent-Beck Stadium.
Lamar, who dropped to 13-21 overall and 6-12 in SLC play, hits the road for four straight games. The Cardinals step out of conference for a game at nationally-ranked LSU Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. and then play a three-game series at Nicholls State next weekend.
“Jonathan (Dziedzic) didn’t have his normal stuff today,” said Lamar coach Jim Gilligan. “He was leaving the ball up in the zone and they are a good high-ball hitting team.
“There were a couple of situations today where we needed to put the ball in play and we struck out. We have to be better in those types of situations.”
The Cardinals struck first with a run in the bottom of the second inning. Thomas Henk doubled to left center field and advanced to third on V.J. Bunner’s single to left field. Henk scored when Bunner was caught in a run down trying to steal second. Henk crossed home plate before Bunner was tagged out to give Lamar a quick 1-0 lead.
The Bearkats responded with three runs in the top of the third inning. After working out of a bases loaded jam in the first inning, Lamar starter Jonathan Dziedzic wasn’t so fortunate in the third.
Colt Atwood singled and moved to second on Luke Plucheck’s sacrifice bunt. Anthony Azar reached on a fielder’s choice with Atwood getting thrown out at third. Jake Arrington walked and Kevin Miller singled to right field to load the bases.
Ryan O’Hearn cleared the bases with a three-run double down the right field line to give SHSU a 3-1 lead.
Lamar answered right back with a pair of runs in the home half of the third. Aaron Olivas
, who was 2-for-4, led off the inning with a single to left. Jude Vidrine
drew a walk and both runners moved into scoring position on Seth Dornak’s ground out to second base.
Brad Picha delivered a 2-run single to left center field to drive in both Olivas and Vidrine to tie the game a 3-3.
SHSU (25-11, 15-3) reclaimed the lead with a pair of runs in the top of the fifth inning. Plucheck led off the inning with a single, but was caught stealing. Azar walked and scored on Arrington’s RBI triple to left center field. Miller, who was 2-for-4, singled to right field to drive in Arrington and give the Bearkats a 5-3 lead.
The Cardinals threatened in the eighth inning. Picha double to left center. Jeff Abt singled up the middle and stole second to put both runners into scoring position. Garrett Autrey struck out and Henk, who was 2-for-4, grounded out to third to end the inning.
“I was a little disappointed in our knowledge of how to play,” commented Gilligan. “Our good clubs in the past would have won this game today and this team has more talent.
“Just playing with this team was an improvement for us because I think Sam Houston is by far the best team in the conference. I think we could have won all three games this weekend, we just have to get better with the little things that enable you to win ball games.”
Dziedzic (2-2) started and took the loss for the Cardinals. He allowed five runs on eight hits with three walks and four strikeouts in four and two-third innings pitched. Vernnon Maxwell pitched the final 4 1/3 innings and did not allow a hit. He retired all 13 batters he faced with one strikeout.
Starter Cody Dickson (4-2) picked up the win for the Bearkats. He allowed three runs on five hits with two walks and three strikeouts in five innings of work. Michael Burchett pitched the final 1 2/3 innings to earn his fourth save.