Cardinals, Cougars to renew baseball rivalry

GO CARDINALS <strong>Kevin Roebuck hit a walk-off home run against the Cougars last year</strong>
Kevin Roebuck hit a walk-off home run against the Cougars last year

April 5, 2011

HOUSTON - Lamar University's baseball team will take a break from Southland Conference play Wednesday night when the Cardinals will renew their annual rivalry with the University in a 6:30 p.m. game at 3,500-seat Cougar Field.

It will be Lamar's next-to-last midweek, non-conference game. The Cardinals and Cougars will meet again on April 27 in Beaumont's Vincent-Beck Stadium. In their midweek game last week, coach Jim Gilligan's Cardinals upset 19th-ranked Baylor 7-3 in Waco.

The Cardinals will bring a 19-12 record into Wednesday's game, while the Cougars were 15-14 going into their Tuesday night game at Texas A&M.

The teams split their home-and-home series last season with Lamar winning 7-6 on a walk-off home run by Kevin Roebuck in the ninth inning of the Beaumont game. The Cougars prevailed 8-7 in 11 innings in Houston.

This will be the 73rd meeting between Lamar and Houston in baseball, and the Cougars own a 46-2265 all-time series advantage over the Cardinals. The University of Houston was, in fact, the very first school Lamar played it launched its baseball program in 1952 under coach J.B. Higgins. The Cardinals won that game 7-3 in Houston.

Despite losing two of three Southland Conference games at Southeastern Louisiana University over the weekend, coach Jim Gilligan's Cardinals are in a three-way tie for third place with SLU and UT Arlington in the league race. In their first season under coach Todd Whitting, the Cougars are off to a 3-0 start in Conference USA.

With two wins last week, Gilligan moved to within four of reaching the 1,200 milestone in his 34-plus seasons as a major college coach. His overall record stands at 1,196-755, and his record at Lamar is 1,186-745 in 33-plus season.

Gilligan will send out either Albert Lott or Cody Laird as his starting pitcher Wednesday night. A 6-foot-3, 271-pound junior left-hander from Beaumont's Ozen High School, Lott is 0-0 and has a 1.02 earned run average in nine appearances, including six starts. Laird is a 6-1, 163-pound freshman left-hander from Nederland, and he has a 1-0 record and 6.75 ERA in seven relief appearances..



The Cardinals will carry a team batting average of .282 (ninth best in the SLC) into Wednesday's game, and they have a team ERA of 3.61 (fourth in the SLC). Houston's respective numbers going into Tuesday night's game at Texas A&M were .298 and 4.54.

Senior first baseman Wade Mathis of Wharton has Lamar's best batting average of .355, and he's also leading the team in hits with 44 and in doubles with 10. Senior outfielder Ted Zentek is second on the team in hitting with a .327 average, while senior third baseman Pablo Salinas is at .308 and junior outfielder Kevin Roebuck is at .305.

The Cougars swept their Conference USA games at Tulane last weekend, winning by the scores of 2-0, 5-2 and 9-0.

After playing the Cougars, the Cardinals will return home to host Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in a three-game SLC series Friday through Sunday.


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