May 18, 2013
BEAUMONT – It wasn’t easy for the Lamar baseball team on Saturday afternoon, but the relief staff was able to hold off a late Nicholls rally to hold on for a 6-5 win over the Colonels at Vincent-Beck Stadium.
With the win, Lamar improved to 36-18 on the year with a 15-12 Southland record, securing the fifth seed at next week’s conference tournament in Sugar Land. This season marks the first time the Cards have posted a winning conference record since 2009.
Nicholls dropped to 26-29, finishing their season with a 9-18 SLC record.
Will Hibbs was tasked with his second career start, but despite not allowing a hit until the third, the freshman gave up three runs (two earned) on a pair of hits. He struck out four.
Ben Coram gave up a run in the fourth, but the trio of Travis Moore, Jerin Spikes and J.T. Autrey were strong in relief, holding the Colonels to three hits over the final 5.1 frames.
Moore was credited with the victory, improving to 2-0 on the year.
Nicholls grabbed the opening tally in the first as Matt Richard took advantage of a three-base error by LU third baseman Aaron Olivas and later scored on a Leo Vargas groundout.
The lead was short-lived, however, as Lamar posted three straight hits to start the bottom of the frame. Sam Bumpers led off with a double and back-to-back singles by Olivas and Darian Johnson evened things up. Olivas went on to score later in the frame on a Seth Dornak single.
Two more Cards crossed home plate in the second. A two-out single by Provost and a costly error by Nicholls first baseman Seth Stevens kept the inning alive for Johnson, who plated two on a single up the middle.
Johnson paced the LU offense with three runs batted in on a 2-for-5 showing at the plate. Both Dornak and Provost also had two-hit days as the Cards out-hit Nicholls 14-6.
David Zorn led off the ensuing frame with a walk and Richard doubled to put the Colonels back in business. A Stevens double later in the frame cut the deficit to one before Coram was able to induce a flyout to get out of the inning.
It was only a brief reprieve, however, as Mike Barba earned a one-out walk in the fourth and stole second to get in scoring position. Cody Dufrene cashed in with a double to left center to level the score once more.
V.J. Bunner and Garret Autrey put together back-to-back two-out doubles to break the deadlock in the fifth, and Autrey played the role of hero once more on the other side of the seventh inning stretch, lacing a single through the right side to double the LU advantage.
The Stephenville native finished the day 2-for-3 with two RBI, and Bunner ended 3-for-4.
The Colonels re-claimed a score in the eighth, but it wasn’t enough as the duo of Spikes and J.T. Autrey combined to hold Nicholls at bay over the final six outs, with the latter picking up his first career save.
Lamar will return to action on Wednesday with the opening day of the Southland Tournament at Constellation Field in Sugar Land. The Cards are slated to face fourth-seeded Southeastern Louisiana, a team LU took two out of three from earlier this season. First pitch is slated for 7 p.m.