April 19, 2014
BEAUMONT – After falling in a third straight Southland Conference series last month, Jude Vidrine felt that the Lamar baseball team needed to relax and let the game to them. Over the past three weeks, the Cardinals have appeared to do just that, clinching a third consecutive series win on Saturday afternoon with a 6-5 victory over Sam Houston State at Vincent-Beck Stadium.
“After we dropped to 2-7 after that third weekend, all I could think was that I’ve been here before,” said the fifth-year senior. “You know, we have that picture in the locker room of the 2010 championship team, and we started 2-7 that year too. I got the guys together, and I told them that there was a lot of baseball left to play. I think we were pressing a little too hard, and I told everyone that we’d be alright.”
With the win, LU has picked up eight of its last nine Southland games to improve to 10-8 in the conference with a 24-16 overall record. SHSU, which has won two consecutive league titles, is also 10-8 and 26-14 on the year.
Just like in the first two games of the three-game set, the LU line-up pounced on SHSU’s starter in the opening inning as Vidrine led off with a walk. Both Reed Seeley and Sam Bumpers followed up with singles to bring him home, and Brandon Provost recorded a sacrifice fly to give the Red and White the 2-0 advantage heading into the second.
Both Seeley and Bumpers extended their respective hitting streaks in the frame, and Bumpers now stands on the brink of tying a school record as he’s recorded at least one hit in 24 consecutive games. Seeley has hit safely in 17 straight, but he’s also reached base at least once in each of the last 24. Seeley was 2-for-2 with a run and a walk on Saturday, and Bumpers ended 1-for-3 with a score and run batted in.
Vidrine scored three times, finished 1-for-3 with a pair of walks, and Provost knocked in a pair and went 2-for-3. As a team, LU out-hit the visitors from Huntsville 8-7, marking the first time in seven games that the Cards have not recorded double-digit hits.
The early lead proved to be temporary, however, as the Bearkats pegged LU starter J.T. Autrey for three runs in the second. The senior right-hander would be done for the day following the frame, ending with two hits allowed, three walks and three runs (one unearned). He also struck out three.
Vidrine led off the third with a double and a Bumpers sacrifice bunt put him 90 feet from home. Jacoby Middleton grounded out to tie things up.
After surrendering the lead once more in the fifth, LU regained control in the bottom half of the frame as Vidrine and Seeley earned back-to-back lead-off walks. Middleton once again knocked in the game-tying run, this time with a single. Provost handed the Cards the lead with a single off SHSU pitcher Alan Scott’s leg, and Kevin Santana doubled the advantage with a single up the middle in the ensuing at-bat.
Hunter Perry, who earned his second win of the year, ended the day with 3.2 innings pitched, giving up two runs (one earned) on four hits without issuing a walk. Derek Wade took over in his stead, recording the last 10 outs and allowing just a single hit with three strikeouts to pick up his second career save.
The Cards will be looking to continue their ascent through the Southland standings next weekend as they hit the road to take on Stephen F. Austin in Nacogdoches.