April 28, 2013
BEAUMONT - Sam Bumpers collected three hits Sunday afternoon at Vincent-Beck Stadium, and the Cardinals held off a late Stephen F. Austin rally, as Lamar University completed a three-game Southland Conference baseball sweep with a 4-3 victory.
The Cardinals, who will play a non-conference game at Rice on Wednesday evening at 6:30 p.m., are tied atop the Southland Conference standings with Sam Houston State at 12-6. Lamar is now 33-11 on the year and has won its last seven league games.
Lamar carried a 4-1 lead into the top of the ninth inning before the Lumberjacks (23-21 overall, 10-8 in the Southland) rallied for a pair of runs off reliever J.T. Autrey. The junior righty got the first out of the inning before pinch hitter Jackson Hood singled.
Mackenzie Handel, who finished 2-for-4 on the day, then doubled to center to score Hood and make it a 4-2 game. Gevon Jackson came in to pinch run for the `Jacks and he was able to come home on a single to left off the bat of catcher Joseph Olson.
Chase Angelle, Lamar's sixth pitcher of the day, came in and hit the first batter he faced to put two runners on with one out. Angelle then got Brett Thornell to ground into a double play to end the game and pick up his first save of the season.
"This is the tightest race the Southland's ever had," said LU head coach Jim Gilligan about the importance of the sweep. "We have a lot of teams that are close enough to win a conference championship and a bottom of the league that doesn't want to quit. This was a very big win for us today.
"We just did a great job all the way around defensively. That was a great double play at the end by Sammy (Bumpers) and a great double play by (Brad) Picha a couple innings before or else we lose today. We score three runs on bases loaded walks. That's not the way we did it last weekend so it's good when you have different ways to win a ball game."
Lamar took the lead in the fourth inning as designated hitter Seth Dornak
scored on a two-out single to center field by catcher Zach Luevanos
off SFA starter Cameron Gann.
Gann, who took the loss to fall to 3-6, would be chased from the game in the fifth inning as Lamar struck for two more runs. Bumpers led off the inning with his 12th double of the season and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by right fielder Jude Vidrine.
Darian Johnson was then intentionally walked to put runners on the corners and Picha followed with a walk to load the bases with one out. Cass Ingvardsen came in for the Lumberjacks and got Dornak to ground into a fielder's choice that ended with Bumpers out at home.
Ingvardsen then delivered back-to-back bases loaded walks to Garret Autrey and Aaron Olivas to score the Cards' final two runs. Luevanos grounded out to second to end the inning, but not before the Cards scored twice on just one base hit.
Lance Warren started for the Cardinals and allowed four hits and one earned run over 2.0 innings. The junior recorded three of Lamar's five strikeouts in taking a no decision. Jerin Spikes pitched 1.1 innings of no-hit relief to pick up the win and improve to 2-1 on the year.
Gann ceded six hits and four earned runs in 4.1 innings of work. He would register four strikeouts on the day, but also walked four batters. SFA's four relievers didn't allow a hit over the final 3.1 innings.
SFA scored the first run of the game in the opening frame as Benson singled with one out. Shortstop Hunter Dozier followed with his lone hit of the day to put runners at first and third. Freddy Villalobos then reached on a fielder's choice that scored Benson to stake the `Jacks to a 1-0 lead.
Lamar answered right away in the home half of the first inning. Bumpers led off with a single and moved to second on a Vidrine single. The bases were then loaded on a single through the right side by Johnson. After Picha struck out, Bumpers came home with the Cards' first run on a Dornak bases loaded walk.