Lamar opens three-game series at Texas State
May 3, 2012
SAN MARCOS - Lamar University will open a key Southland Conference baseball series at Texas State on Friday evening as the Cardinals are fighting for one of the eight spots in the conference tournament. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
Lamar (18-24 overall) enters the weekend tied for ninth with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi with a 10-14 Southland Conference record. However, the Cards are just two games out of fifth place and could pull even with Texas State (25-17 overall, 13-11 in the SLC) with a three-game sweep.
Lamar leads the all-time series 39-27, but the Bobcats have won seven of the last 10. Last year's three-game series was held in Beaumont with the Bobcats winning 2-of-3. In 2010, Lamar lost three straight regular season games at Texas State before defeating the Bobcats 17-7 in the championship game of the Southland Conference Tournament to advance to its 13th NCAA Regional.
If Lamar is going to move up this weekend, it is going to have to do so against one of the top pitching staffs in the country. The Bobcats are ranked seventh in the nation with a team earned run average of 2.77 and are 10th in strikeouts per nine innings at 8.5.
The pitching matchup Friday evening should be outstanding as the Cardinals will throw junior left hander Jonathan Dziedzic and the Bobcats will counter with junior right hander Travis Ballew. Dziedzic is 4-2 with a 2.63 earned run average, while Ballew is 8-3 with a 1.95 ERA.
Lamar will look to continue its hot hitting this weekend. Over their last 10 games, the Cardinals are hitting .323 as a team to raise their season batting average to .267. The Bobcats are ninth in the league in hitting with a .257 team batting average.
Junior designated hitter Seth Dornak carries an eight game hitting streak into the weekend, and leads the Cardinals with a .320 batting average. Third baseman Darian Johnson is hitting .304 on the year and is tied for the team lead with 11 doubles.
Junior first baseman Brad Picha has been on a tear lately, hitting .632 over his last five games. Picha has also driven in seven runs during the stretch to raise his team-leading total to 28.
Texas State, which started the season ranked 35th in the Collegiate Baseball Preseason Poll, has won five of its last six SLC games after being swept at Southeastern Louisiana.
Senior outfielder Jeff McVaney leads the Bobcats in nearly every statistical category. McVaney is hitting .321 with 12 doubles, seven home runs and 31 RBI. First baseman Casey Kalenkosky is tied with seven home runs and is second with 27 RBI.
Game two of the three game series is scheduled for Saturday at 2 p.m., while the final game will be Sunday at 1 p.m. from Bobcat Field.