Baseball hits the road for Baylor

GO CARDINALS <b>David Carver</b>
David Carver

March 4, 2014


March 5 | Baylor Ballpark | Waco, Texas

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  • After dropping the first game of the series to UTPA this past Friday, Lamar bounced back for a pair of tight victories over the Broncs at Vincent-Beck Stadium.
  • Wednesday's game at Baylor is the first road game of the season for LU. The Cards were 12-10 away from the friendly confines of Vincent-Beck last season, and 6-6 in games played in Texas.
  • LU is 19-31 all-time in road openers. The last road-opening win came in 8-0 fashion over No. 25 Baylor in 2012.
  • So far this season, the potential tying or game-winning run has taken an at bat in the ninth inning in eight of 12 games.
  • The Cardinals went 39-20 last season, the best record for the program since the Southland championship-winning 2004 campaign.
  • 17 of the 33 players are newcomers, and 15 are junior college transfers.
  • 30 Cards hail from the state of Texas, including six from Southeast Texas and one from Beaumont.
  • LU will play 33 games at home this season, including the first 12.
  • 25 of LU's games are scheduled vs. Texas opponents, including a home-and-home series with perennial powerhouse Rice.

Projected Starters

Wednesday, 4 p.m.: LHP David Carver (LU) vs. RHP Ryan Smith (BU)

LU vs. BU

  • Baylor is currently 5-6 this season after dropping four games over the weekend at a tournament in California. The Bears dropped a pair of decisions to Cal in addition to losses to UNCW and San Diego.
  • Wednesday will mark the fifth home game of the season for Baylor. The Bears opened up their home slate with a 5-3 decision over UT Arlington, and then followed up with a three-game sweep of Austin Peay.
  • The final game of the Austin Peay series marked win No. 700 for longtime Baylor head coach Steve Smith.
  • Baylor was picked to finish sixth in the annual Big 12 Conference preseason poll.
  • Wednesday marks the 74th all-time meeting between Lamar and Baylor. BU holds a 30-42-1 advantage in the series.
  • The two teams last met in 2012 when LU beat the then-No. 25 Bears by scores of 8-0 and 8-7. The Cards have actually won three straight in the series, last falling in the 2010 NCAA Regional.
  • Lamar and Baylor first met in the final game of the 1954 season. The Bears won the 11-5, and following the year, the LU baseball program was discontinued. When the team was re-instated in 1967, the Cards played their first game of the season vs. the Bears, falling 2-1.
  • LU is 11-21 all-time vs. the Big 12 Conference, but are coming into Wednesday with three consecutive victories vs. the league, all coming against Baylor. The Cards have been most successful vs. BU and Oklahoma, beating each three teams. The biggest thorn in LU's side was former member Texas A&M, which took home eight wins in nine games vs. the Cards as a member of the Big 12.
  • Baylor is one of 32 schools that Lamar has played from the state of Texas. Overall, the Cards have experienced a strong record of success against their home state, posting a 641-512-2 mark and winning 55.5% of the games they've played. This season, LU is 2-2 vs. the state, falling to Texas Southern and taking two of three from Texas-Pan American. Last year, the Cards went 14-7.


LU in non-conference weekend series

The Cardinals have played two traditional series at home this season, picking up a four-game sweep of LIU Brooklyn and taking two of three from Texas-Pan American. Over the past decade, the Cards have experienced unequaled success in non-conference weekend series, racking up an impressive 64-6 mark.

Last season, LU picked up four-game sweeps over Northern Kentucky and Columbia, earned a three-game sweep of UMass and earned series victories against Washington (3-1) and UTPA (2-1)

Since 2004, the Cards have won 21 of the 22 series.


Close Encounters

In eight of the 12 games this season, the tying or go-ahead run has made the walk to the plate in the ninth inning.

This past weekend, LU brought the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth, but ultimately fell 4-1 to the Broncs. The Cards repaid the favor a day later as Danny Fernandez earned his first save in a 5-3 win.

In the season opener vs. Marist, Jude Vidrine picked up one of his three outfield assists this season, combining with Tyler Sullivan to gun down the tying run at the plate to end the game at 7-6. On the following day, LU lost a 12-inning affair to UIC 6-3 before returning for a 4-3 setback to Marist. The Cards also won an 8-7 10 inning game vs. UIC, and stranded the bases loaded in an 8-4 loss to Texas Southern three days later.


Chasing win No. 1,500

After last weekend, Lamar's all-time victory total climbed to 1,477. Getting to 1,500 would be just one more achievement for Jim Gilligan, who has recorded 1,265 of the victories as the head coach. He was also an assistant for 36 more in 1970 and 1971, and he played for the Cards in 1967 and 68, helping LU to another 33. In all Gilligan's been involved in 1,334 of the victories, which accounts for 90.4% of the overall total.

Gilligan fifth on active wins list

With a 39-win campaign a year ago and the retirement of longtime Wichita State skipper Gene Stephenson, Lamar head coach Jim Gilligan moved to fifth among the winningest active NCAA Division I head coaches. Gilligan currently boasts of 1,265 over his 36 years, trailing just Augie Garrido of Texas (1,883), Mike Martin of Florida State (1,779), Mark Marquess of Stanford (1,498) and Jim Morris of Miami (1,396). Gilligan, who also spent time as a pitcher and an assistant coach for the Cards, sits 14th on the all-time wins list.


Protecting the Nest

Vincent-Beck Stadium has been a fortress for Lamar baseball for much of its 46-year existence. The Cards hold an impressive 889-429-4 record within its walls, winning 67.2% of the games they play at home. Last year was no exception to the rule as LU finished with a home mark of 27-10, which is tied for the most wins at home since a 29-4 campaign in 1993.

Overall, LU has recorded 20 or more home victories 26 times over the past 45 seasons, including 12 of the past 13. The Cards have had .500 or better at home in all but five seasons.




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