March 26, 2012
BEAUMONT, Texas -
Fresh from languishing on the short end of a weekend sweep, Lamar University's baseball team will attempt to complete a season sweep of ninth-ranked Rice University when the teams meet in a 6:30 p.m. non-conference rematch in Vincent-Beck Stadium on Tuesday.
Coach Jim Gilligan's Cardinals dropped decisions of 7-5, 3-0 and 10-5 at Southland Conference co-leader Northwestern State over the weekend, putting them at 8-15 on the season and a dismal 1-8 in the league.
When Lamar and Rice met at Houston's Reckling Park last week, the Cardinals pulled out a 5-4 victory over the then seventh-ranked Owls. First baseman Brad Picha and catcher Zach Luevanos both went 2-for-4 in that game for the Cardinals, and eight pitchers combined to scatter 10 hits and hold the Owls to three earned runs.
Coach Wayne Graham's Owls are bringing an 18-8 record to Beaumont after winning two of three games at Memphis over the weekend in their first Conference USA series of the season. They won the opener 1-0 and the middle game 15-4 before bowing 6-2 in Sunday's series finale.
Senior right-hander Shane Hamaker, the sixth pitcher to see action against Rice last week, was credited with the victory, improving his record to 2-3. Senior righty Jeff Abt came in from left field to pitch the final inning and earn his team-high second save of the season.
Designated hitter Seth Dornak, a 6-foot, 197-pound junior from Pearland by way of Galveston Junior College, is the Cardinals' only hitter batting over .300 with a .311 average. The next best average is the .288 mark of junior catcher Thomas Henk.
The Cardinals will carry a team batting average of .248 into Tuesday's game, and they have a team earned run average of 4.71. Rice's respective marks are .282 and 3.14.
Junior third baseman Darian Johnson of Chandler, Ariz., by way of Mesa Community College will carry a seven-game hitting streak into Tuesday's game. He has collected 10 hits in 31 at-bats over that stretch to raise his batting average from .250 to .274, the third-best mark on the team.