May 24, 2013
SUGAR LAND – After Jonathan Dziedzic put on a historic pitching performance in the morning, the offense took center stage in the evening, run-ruling Southeastern Louisiana in 12-2 fashion in seven innings to move the Lamar baseball team one step closer to Southland Tournament glory at Constellation Field.
The Cardinals and Lions will return to the ballpark at 1 p.m. on Saturday for a rematch. The winner will then go on to square off against the winner between Central Arkansas and Oral Roberts at 5 p.m.
“This has really turned into a pitch-by-pitch, at bat-by-at bat, inning-by-inning thing for us,” head coach Jim Gilligan said. “If you let just one pitch or one out get away from you, your whole season can turn around. I like the focus we have, and I like the way the kids have stayed focused and played hard.”
Sam Bumpers and V.J. Bunner led a barrage for the LU offense that included 15 hits, the most for a team in the Southland Tournament so far this week. Bunner ended 3-for-3 with three scores, and Bumpers was 2-for-3, knocking in three and scoring twice as well. In all, seven Cards collected multiple hits with four scoring multiple times.
Southeastern Louisiana (35-23), on the other hand, was limited to just six hits by LU pitchers David Carver and Chase Angelle. Carver was on the hook for both runs on two hits, and Angelle was lights out in five innings of work, allowing four hits without issuing a walk to improve to 4-2 on the year.
“Really, our offense has been there all year,” Gilligan said. “Every now and then, someone throws a gem against us, but we’ve been swinging the bat well all year. Angelle really stepped up when he had to, and we’re hoping that continues with our pitching tomorrow. It’s going to be all hands on deck.”
After the Lions got on the board in the first, Lamar (39-19) grabbed the lead with two in the second. Dornak was hit by a pitch, and back-to-back singles by Bunner and Jude Vidrine evened up the game. Brandon Provost followed up with another single to put the go-ahead run 90 feet from home. Bumpers obliged, recording a sacrifice fly to center.
SLU evened it up in the third on a fielding error by Aaron Olivas, but the deadlock didn’t last long as three Cards crossed home plate an inning later. Consecutive singles by Bunner, Provost Vidrine and Bumpers put the Red and White ahead again. Olivas recorded a fielder’s choice to double the advantage, and Darian Johnson kept it going with a sac fly to right to hand LU a 5-2 advantage after four.
The Lions threatened to pull back into the game in the sixth, but a highlight double play by Olivas kept a bases-loaded situation from getting worse. The LU offense responded in tow, pushing two more across in the bottom of the frame. Bumpers sent the first pitch he saw into the left field pavilion, and Dornak singled to center to bring another home.
The Cardinal infield, which leads the conference, in double plays, converted three on the night.
Lamar scored five more times in the seventh to put the Lions out of their misery early. After an early Provost out with two on, the Cards would not be put out again. Bunner scored on a wild pitch, Johnson earned a bases-loaded walk, and Brad Picha was hit by a pitch in the ensuing at-bat to move the LU run total to 10. Dornak legged out an infield single moments later, and Johnson scored on a wild pitch to end the game.
The 12 runs was the most scored by a team so far this week in Sugar Land.
Earlier in the day, Dziedzic came up just one out shy of the first no-hitter in Southland Tournament history and helping LU to a 3-1 win over regular season champion Sam Houston State. The junior southpaw was perfect through five, and unfortunately missed his brush with history when an Anthony Azar single just made it through the right side of the infield.
Dziedzic still etched his name into the conference’s record book though, becoming the first to record a one-hitter in the league’s ultimate event. Former Card Clay Hensley held the previous record, tossing a two-hitter against Texas-Arlington in 2002.
First pitch vs. the Lions is set for 1 p.m. at Constellation Field.