Lamar rally falls short in loss to Demons
April 29, 2011
BEAUMONT, Texas - For a few brief minutes in the ninth inning Friday, it appeared Lamar University's baseball team was on the brink of digging itself out of a five-run hole.
Trailing 8-3 with one out in the final inning, the Cardinals pushed across three runs to narrow the deficit to a manageable number as there were two runners still on base when Ted Zentek came to the plate.
Zentek, Lamar's No. 2 hitter entering the game, struck out swinging, however, leaving Northwestern State an 8-6 winner and the Cardinals carrying the weight of a seven-game Southland Conference losing streak.
After Wade Mathis lined out to open the Cardinals' ninth inning, Joey Latulippe pulled a double down the left-field line, and Jude Vidrine placed a bunt single down the third-base line. Pablo Salinas then walked to load the bases, setting up an RBI single to left field by Andy Mena.
Left-hander Mason Melotakis then relieved Demon starter Luke Irvine and promptly struck out pinchhitter Cameron Campbell for the second out. Aaron Buchanan grounded a single into center field to plate the Cardinals' final two runs.
Irvine, who scattered nine hits, struck out seven batters and walked three, threw 130 pitches in evening his record at 5-5. The save was Melotakis' fourth of the season.
Lamar starter Jeff Abt, who yielded five hits and a five-run third after working 2 1/3 innings, saw his record fall to 0-4.
Mena, a .186 hitter entering the game, went 3-for-4 to raise his average to .205. Buchanan and Latulippe both went 2-for-4 for the Cardinals.
Shortstop Nick Hinojosa went 3-for-4 for the Demons, who improved to 16-27 on the season and 6-16 in the SLC. Drew Helenihi and Will Watson added 2-for-5 efforts to NSU's 11-hit attack, and Watson had three runs batted in.
The loss dropped the Cardinals to 23-19 overall and 9-13 in the league. The Cardinals and Demons will play Game 2 of the series at 2 p.m. Saturday, and the series will conclude with a 1 p.m. game on Sunday.