May. 1, 2005
HUNTSVILLE - Junior Colt Crawford went 2-for-4 and hit a grand slam home run that broke a 1-1 tie as Lamar pounded out 15 hits en route to a 9-2 win over Sam Houston State Sunday afternoon in Southland Conference baseball action at Holleman Field.
Lamar improved to 31-19 overall and 12-9 in SLC play. SHSU dropped to 17-27-2 overall and 8-13 in SLC play. The Cardinals, who snapped a two-game losing streak and avoided getting swept by the Bearkats, will take a 12-day break for final exams before returning to action on May 13 to begin a three-game series at Texas-San Antonio.
The Cardinals, who entered this weekend in a four-way tie for second place in the SLC standings, are now tied with UTSA (12-9) for fourth-place. Texas-Arlington and Texas State are tied for second at 13-8 and Northwestern State leads the league with a 17-4 mark.
SHSU jumped out to the early lead with a run in the bottom of the second inning. Karl Krailo led off with a walk, Aaron Ruchti was hit by a pitch and Roy Merritt reached on a bunt single to load the bases with one out. Jose Salazar drove in Krailo with the game's first run on an RBI ground out to shortstop.
Lamar tied the game with a run in the top of the third inning. Jeremy Gray doubled to right center field, his second two-bagger of the game, with two outs. Michael Ambort singled to right field to drive in Gray and tie the game at 1-1.
The Cardinals grabbed the lead in the top of the fourth inning. Adrian Cantu and C.J. Ebarb both singled to left field to lead off the inning and Sam Huff drew a one-out walk to load the bases. Colt Crawford followed with a grand slam home run down the line in left field, his second homer of the season, to put Lamar up 5-1.
Lamar added to its lead with a pair of runs in the top of the seventh. Gray hit his third double of the game and Ambort followed with a 2-run home run just inside the foul pole down the left field line, his 15th of the season, to make the score 7-1. Ambort, who went 3-for-5 with three RBI, is just one home run shy of tying the single-season record of 16 shared by Beau Allred and Jason Klam.
The Cardinals added a pair of insurance runs in the top of the eighth inning. Crawford led off the inning with a double to left center and Lambeth followed with a single to center. Gray, who was 4-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBI, cleared the bases with a 2-run triple to deep center field to put Lamar up 9-1. A double would have tied the school's single-game record, but Gray easily made it three bases as the ball hit the wall and rolled away from Merritt.
Isaias Garcia hit a solo home run in the bottom of the ninth inning off Lamar reliever Tim Erickson, his 13th of the season, to make the score 9-2.
Steve MacFarland (6-2) started and picked up the win for the Cardinals. He allowed one run on two hits with seven strikeouts and seven walks in five and two-third innings pitched. Erickson pitched the final 3 1/3 innings to pick up his first save of the season. He allowed one run on one hits with four strikeouts and no walks.
SHSU starter Timothy Gray (2-6) took the loss, allowing five runs on seven hits with four strikeouts and one walk in four innings pitched.