April 18, 2012
BATON ROUGE, La. - Junior third baseman Darian Johnson hit his third home run of the season and drove in three runs Wednesday night at Alex Box Stadium, but Lamar University's strong effort came up just short in a 5-4 loss to No. 1 ranked LSU in non-conference baseball action.
The Cardinals, who still own a 5-2 record all-time against LSU, fell to 13-22 with the loss. Lamar will continue road play this weekend with a three-game Southland Conference series at Nicholls beginning Friday evening at 6:30 p.m.
Johnson's blast, a two-run homer to right field in the top of the first inning, got the Cardinals out to a quick start. Right fielder Jude Vidrine, who went hitless over the weekend in the Cards' three-game series with Sam Houston State, led off the game with a single to score on the home run.
LSU (31-7), which answered back with two runs in the bottom half of the first inning, took the lead for good with a run in the bottom of the seventh. Raph Rhymes, the nation's leading hitter coming in to the game at .476, drove in pinch runner Jared Foster with the game winning run.
Rhymes' hit came off LU reliever Machon Trimm, but the run was charged to Ben Coram who was saddled with the loss. Coram walked the only two batters he faced to fall to 1-2 on the season. He was one of seven pitchers used in the game by the Cardinals.
Johnson's third RBI came in the top of the third inning as Lamar pulled ahead 3-2. Vidrine, who was 3-for-5 with two runs scored in the game, once again led off the inning with a single. Garret Autrey was hit by a pitch and both runners moved up a base on a passed ball.
Johnson then grounded out to second base to score the run and move Autrey to third with only one out. Brad Picha and Jeff Abt followed with strikeouts to leave Autrey stranded at third.
The Tigers once again tied the game by scoring a run in the fourth inning. Rhymes, who drove in LSU's first two runs and went 3-for-4 at the plate, led off the fourth with a single. Back-to-back singles by Tyler Moore and Ty Ross loaded the bases with just one out.
After Lamar switched pitchers from Chase Angelle to John Gilligan, third baseman Tyler Hanover singled to center to drive in Rhymes with the tying run.
Lamar's last lead came in the fifth inning as Autrey scored on a Picha ground out to the pitcher.
LSU evened the game at 4-4 in the sixth inning before plating the game winning run in the seventh. Shortstop Austin Nola led off the sixth with a double and moved to third on a ground out. Ross would drive him home with a sacrifice fly to right field.
In addition to big games by Johnson and Vidrine, designated hitter Seth Dornak finished with two hits in four at bats. Abt, who singled in the fifth inning, extended his hitting streak to a team-best eight games.
Andrew Beasley started for the Cardinals on the mound, working 2.0 innings and giving up a pair of earned runs on three hits. Freshman Vernnon Maxwell worked 1.1 innings of no-hit ball.
LSU used eight pitchers in the contest with Joe Broussard starting and giving up two runs on three hits over 2.0 innings of work. Chris Cotton (4-0) got the win in relief, giving up just one hit over 1.1 innings while striking out two.