April 26, 2009
Brian Taylor went 3-for-5 with five RBI and a second-inning grand slam to spark Lamar to a 14-2 win over Northwestern State at Vincent-Beck Stadium on Sunday.
Lamar (28-17, 14-10 SLC) won its fourth-consecutive game and moved into a tie for third in the Southland standings with Sam Houston State, UT Arlington and UTSA with three weekends remaining in the league race.
Taylor's homer to right field was his sixth of the season and second of the week after going deep in the first inning of Tuesday's win at Houston. It was also the second grand slam for Lamar this season - Tyler Link hit one against Austin Peay on Feb. 21.
Those four runs were part of a five-run second in which the Cardinals erased the Demons' 2-0 advantage that was obtained on Justin O'Neal's two-run homer down the right field line in the top of the first.
The Cardinals added five more runs in the third when they sent 11 men to the plate, collecting just four hits while benefitting from three walks and an error on a sacrifice bunt.
Lamar closed out the scoring in the fifth when it sandwiched six singles around a sacrifice fly to tally its most runs in a conference game this year and its most overall since a season-high-tying 16 against Prairie View on March 11.
Steven Tucker was 4-for-5 with two doubles as eight of the nine starters collected at least one hit each and scored at least once. Taylor also had a single and double to go along with his homer.
James Brandhorst (1-0) earned the win in his first career start as he allowed hits to three of the first five batters of the games before settling down to retire seven-straight. Brian Needham earned his second save with three strikeouts and just two hits over four scoreless innings.
Northwestern State (17-22, 10-12 SLC) starter Ben Rodriguez (0-4) was the losing pitcher after giving up seven earned runs in two-plus innings. Each of the three pitchers used by the Demons struck out two batters apiece.
Lamar will play host to long-time rival Louisiana-Monroe in a two-game midweek set beginning on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday's game is set for a 3 p.m. first pitch.