April 23, 2011
SAN ANTONIO - For the second straight day UTSA came up with the runs when it needed them as the Roadrunners plated three in the bottom of the ninth on Saturday to steal a 13-12 Southland Conference baseball victory away from Lamar University and hand the Cardinals their sixth straight loss.
The Cardinals trailed 10-6 after five innings, but scored three in the seventh and one in the eighth to tie the game at 10. It looked as though the Cardinals would snap their losing streak, and give head coach Jim Gilligan his 1,200th career coaching victory in the top of the ninth.
With two outs in the ninth and catcher Joey Latulippe at first, redshirt freshman Jude Vidrine hit his first career home run over the left centerfield wall to put the Cardinals on top 12-10.
"We did a great job of coming back," said Gilligan. "Six runs over the last three innings, and for the second straight day we don't hold a two-run lead. We are as low as we can allow them to go right now and we have to right this and have a good home series this week."
The loss dropped Lamar to 22-19 on the year and 9-12 in SLC play. UTSA is now 11-10 in conference action and 19-22 on the year.
UTSA catcher Tyler Carpenter was hit by a Taylor McInnis pitch to start the ninth, prompting Gilligan to replace McInnis with Jeff Abt. McInnis, who came in for starter Blake Ford, worked three and a third innings without allowing a hit while giving up one run.
"McInnis pitched really well for us, but he just didn't have anything going out in the ninth," said Gilligan.
Abt, who finished the game with two hits and three runs batted in while playing right field, got the first two UTSA batters out. Daniel Rockett walked to put runners at first and second, and Jason Mohn was down to his final strike for the Roadrunners before singling to right field and driving in Carpenter to make the score 12-11.
Shortstop R.J. Perucki then singled to LU right fielder Jude Vidrine
who couldn't handle the ball cleanly, allowing Rockett to score and tie the game and pinch runner Tommy Vukovich to come all the way around from first to score the game winner on the error.
Abt took the loss for Lamar and fell to 0-3 on the season after allowing two hits and two runs, one earned.
After falling behind 2-0 through the first inning, the Cardinals put up four in the top of the second to grab the lead. Abt had already scored for the Cards in the inning when second baseman Andrew Dewey came to the plate with two runners on.
Dewey drove a ball off UTSA starter Jordan Langley to the deepest part of the field and never stopped running as the ball hit the centerfield wall some 405 feet away from home plate. Vidrine and Pablo Salinas scored in front of Dewey who motored all the way around for an inside-the-park home run, his first home run as a Cardinal.
"I thought Dewey did a pretty good job today and he's claimed the position right now," said Gilligan. "We've got to find the formula and get back to playing."
UTSA answered with two in the bottom of the second and four more in the third to take an 8-4 lead. After giving up runs in the fourth and fifth, Ford was lifted from the game. Ford worked four and two third innings, allowing 13 hits and 10 runs.
"He's (Ford) been doing the same thing wrong the last four weeks and that's getting the ball up in the zone," Gilligan said. "That's something you can't do in a park like this. At our park you can get away with it a little bit, but he's certainly got to fix it on the road."
The Cards began their comeback in the seventh as they put up three runs. Abt had his third triple of the season in the inning which scored a pair of runs, and came home on a Kevin Roebuck sacrifice fly to deep center.
Lamar's comeback was made complete when it scored a run in the eighth inning to tie the game at 10. First baseman Wade Mathis singled through the left side to score Vidrine who had opened the inning with a walk.
Five different Cardinal hitters finished with two hits, and Abt, Vidrine and Dewey each drove in three runs.
UTSA, which hit three home runs on the day and eight for the series, finished with 15 hits on Saturday. Carpenter was 2-for-3 with a home run and three runs batted in, while three other Roadrunners drove in two runs.
Blake Denman (2-2) worked just a third of an inning to pick up the win for the Roadrunners.
Lamar will return home for its next five games, beginning with a Wednesday night game against Houston at 6:30 p.m. The Cards then host Northwestern State for a three-game SLC series next weekend.