New Look Cards set to open 2014 campaign

GO CARDINALS <b>Friday's and Sunday's LU games will be available for streaming on the Big Red Sports Network.</b>
Friday's and Sunday's LU games will be available for streaming on the Big Red Sports Network.

Feb. 13, 2014

BEAUMONT – With the loss of seven starters on the field and two on the mound from a 39-20 campaign in 2013, the Lamar baseball team may have the look of a team in need of a rebuild. However, with all-conference hitters in Sam Bumpers and Jude Vidrine as well as an influx of junior college talent, that’s going to be a tough argument to sell to 37th year head coach Jim Gilligan.

Bumpers, a .339 hitter with 19 doubles and four home runs a season ago, is primed to become one of the Southland Conference’s most potent offensive forces. The shortstop, who also boasts of a wealth of defensive talent, would’ve likely been a first team all-conference honoree in 2013 were it not for the presence of eventual first round draft pick Hunter Dozier at Stephen F. Austin. Bumpers, who transferred from Iowa Western Community College, ran away with the league’s Newcomer of the Year award. This season, he enters as the top choice shortstop on the preseason’s all-conference team.

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Lamar's Rally Comes Up Short in 9-8 Loss to Illinois-Chicago
Lamar University rallied to get back in the game but could overcome Illinois-Chicago's nine-run first inning as the Flames held on for a 9-8 win over the Cardinals Saturday afternoon at Edinburg Stadium in game four of the Citrus Tournament.

Vidrine was also a preseason selection after hitting .294 a year ago. The Nederland native crossed home plate 53 times, good enough for second in the Southland and first among returning players. After earning a redshirt as a freshman in 2010, he looks to repeat the success of that year’s team in guiding the Cardinals back to an NCAA Regional.

The majority of the rest of the line-up will be made up of junior college players from around the state, beginning with the power duo of Jacoby Middleton and Kevin Santana. Middleton, a transfer from Odessa College, hit .376 last season with 50 runs batted in and 49 scores to go along with four homers. He was also a standout performer in the fall’s Red and White series homering once in the four-game set. Santana was a primary bat in the Blinn College lineup in 2013, leaving the yard seven times and hitting .340 with 47 scores and 43 RBI.

Infielders Mason Salazar and Tyler Sullivan also look to get in on the action, with the former hitting .333 with 40 scores for Navarro College in 2013 and the latter hitting .319 for Galveston College. Reed Seeley is also looking to be a regular in the diamond after posting an impressive .476 on-base percentage for Howard College, hitting .340 with 56 runs.

Cameron Allerheiligen, a .370 hitter from Weatherford College, and Justin Eckols, a .291 hitter from Paris Junior College, are also expected to contribute, and they’ll be joined by Beaumont native Kyle Markum, who hit .364 in the Red and White series.

Returning players include Wayne Stanley, a member of the 2012 edition of the Cards, and the outfield duo of Joe Arechiga and Jake Sutton.

On the mound, Collin Chapman aims to be the team’s talisman after an injury-shortened 2013 campaign. The right-hander is the son of former Card Tracy Chapman, and appeared to be well on his way to becoming a weekend rotation regular four starts into the season before he was sidelined. The Leander native posted a 3-0 record, highlighted by a complete game victory over Washington where he allowed just one run. In his final start of the year, he went seven innings for a win over Massachusetts, striking out seven in the process.

The left-handed quartet of Chase Angelle, David Carver, Travis Moore and Lance Warren will also look to build off their 2013 season. Of all returning players, perhaps none were as impressive in their final showing a year as Warren. The Farmers Branch native was saddled with a high-pressure situation, coming on in relief in the first inning of a Southland Tournament elimination game against arch rival McNeese State. He responded with a tour de force performance on the mound, allowing just three hits over the final 8.2 innings of the game to keep LU’s postseason hopes alive.

Like Warren, Angelle may have saved the best for last, pitching five innings and allowing four hits in an elimination gave vs. Southeastern Louisiana to pick up his first career save.

Carver was a regular starter for the Cards, but battled some inconsistency after beginning his starting career with a complete game four-hitter vs. Washington. He finished the year with a 5-3 record and a pair of saves.

Travis Moore posted a 2-0 record but combined with Kansas City Royal farmhand Jonathan Dziedzic for one of the most impressive pitching displays in the NCAA last year. The Pearland native came to the mound in a scoreless game vs. McNeese in the 11th and kept the Cowboys at bay for eight full innings while striking out 10 as LU ultimately earned the 1-0 victory.

Other returners include J.T. Autrey, Hunter Perry and the Friendswood High School trio of Andrew Beasley, Will Hibbs and Jayson McKinley. Autrey, the brother of former Card outfielder Garret Autrey, led all LU pitchers with 20 appearances last season, posting a 1-0 record and striking out nine in 13.2 innings of work.

Beasley, who sat out the 2013 season, posted a 3.32 earned run average for the Cards in 2012 after transferring from San Jacinto College. Hibbs and McKinley were both spot starters as freshman for the Cards last year, combining for a 3-1 record with McKinley posting an impressive 2.76 ERA. Perry appeared in 12 games and recorded an ERA of 3.33.

Billy Love is expected to stand out among the crowd of newcomers after starting 10 games at Seminole State College last season. The Elgin, Okla., native posted a 5-2 record with a 3.86 ERA with 53 strikeouts over 53.2 innings of work.

Joining Love will be fellow junior college transfers in Derek Wade, who put up a 2.04 ERA for Galveston College, and Tyler Junior College’s Zach Aitken, who registered an ERA of 3.04 over 50.2 innings. Danny Fernandez, Brandon Kirkham and Elfego Torres will round out the rest of the transfers on the mound.

This weekend, LU will play host to a pair of northern-based opponents in UIC and Marist for the annual YMBL Cardinal Classic. UIC, perhaps best known for alumnus Curtis Granderson, enters the year as one of the favorites for the Horizon League title after a 27-28 campaign in 2013. Meanwhile, Marist was picked fifth in the Metro Atlantic after going 27-24-1 last year.

UIC and Marist will get things started on Friday with a game at 2 p.m., and the LU home opener will follow at 6 p.m. vs. Marist. On Saturday, the two visitors will play once again at 11 a.m., with LU following with a doubleheader, playing UIC at 2 p.m. and Marist at 6 p.m. The weekend will conclude with LU vs. UIC on Sunday at noon.

Projected starters for the Cardinals this weekend will be Chapman on Friday, both Hibbs and McKinley on Saturday and Angelle on Sunday.

Also for the first time in school history, a number of Lamar baseball games will be streamed via the Big Red Sports Network. This weekend, the network will cover Friday’s and Sunday’s meetings. The service is free and available via




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