May 25, 2005
NATCHITOCHES, La. - Lamar scored five runs in the first inning and William Delage turned in a solid outing on the mound as the second-seeded Cardinals opened the 2005 Southland Conference Tournament with a 7-1 win over No. 5-seed Texas-Arlington Wednesday afternoon at Brown-Stroud Field.
Lamar, who improved to 36-21 overall, will play the winner of the No. 3-seed Texas State vs. No. 4-seed Texas-San Antonio game Thursday at 7 p.m. UTA, who dropped to 25-31 overall, will play the loser of the that game Thursday at 11 a.m. in the tournament's first elimination game.
"William (Delage) pitched a great game last week, which signaled to me that he was back pitching the way I know he can pitch, and he just continued with another great outing today," said Lamar coach Jim Gilligan, who needs just two more wins to reach 1,000 for his career. "He probably could have finished out the game, but I didn't want his pitch count to get too high. He should be able to come back on Saturday, if we need him."
The Cardinals, who won last year's tournament in Hammond, La., opened the 2002 SLC Tournament in Beaumont with a 5-3 win over UTA on its way to the tournament title. Dating back to last season, Lamar has won five straight SLC Tournament games.
Matt Lambeth led off the bottom of the first inning with a walk and Colt Crawford followed with a single to left field to put runners on the corners. Michael Ambort drove in Lambeth with the game's first run on an RBI fielder's choice ground out.
Adrian Cantu singled to right field. Collin Delome, who was 2-for-4, drove in both Ambort and Cantu with a 2-run double off the wall in right center field. Jeremy Gray reached on an error by shortstop Josh McSpadden, which allowed DeLome to score from second.
closed out the scoring with an RBI double down the left field line. The Cardinals sent all nine batters to the place in jumping out to a quick 5-0 lead.
"We played with a lot of enthusiasm today," commented Gilligan. "We have a lot of low-key guys on the team and that sometimes translated to our play on the field. We came out ready to play today. I'd like to start every game with five runs in the first inning. I'd be a happy man if we continue that."
That's all of the offense Delage (6-4) would need as the left-hander from Nederland allowed one run on five hits with two strikeouts and two walks in eight and one-third innings pitched. He retired the Mavericks in order in the second, third, fourth and fifth innings, and was the recipient of two timely ground ball double plays.
Freshman Allen Harrington got the final two batters out in the ninth inning in relief of Delage to close out the game.
The Cardinals added a pair of insurance runs in the home half of the seventh inning. Lambeth, who was 1-for-4 with two runs scored, doubled down the left field line with one out. Crawford, who was 3-for-4, followed with an RBI double down the left field line, just over the third base bag. Cantu, who was 2-for-4, drove in Crawford with a single to right field to make the score 7-0.
UTA's Scott Williams led off the top of the ninth with a solo home run to left center field to prevent the shutout. The Mavericks put the lead-off runner on in four innings, but could never string any hits together and left six runners on base for the game.
Starter Jake Baxter (7-7), who picked up a win against the Cardinals earlier this season, took the loss. He allowed seven runs, five earned, on nine hits with two strikeouts and one walk in six and two-third innings pitched.