May 7, 2012
HOUSTON - Lamar University will play its final non-conference baseball game of the 2012 season Tuesday afternoon when the Cardinals travel to Houston Baptist for a 3 p.m. contest.
The game, which will be played at Husky Field, was originally scheduled for Beaumont. However, the Cards and Huskies swapped home games after their March 13 game scheduled to be played in Houston had to be moved to Vincent-Beck Stadium due to weather.
Lamar is coming off an 8-4 win at Texas State on Sunday which improved the Cardinals to 19-26 on the year. Following the HBU game, Lamar will host Texas A&M-Corpus Christi for three games this weekend before closing the regular season at UTSA.
HBU, which will compete as a Southland Conference member beginning in 2013, has lost its last four games to fall to 18-28 on the season. The Huskies are 3-9 against the Southland Conference this season, including losing 6-5 to Lamar in the earlier meeting.
Lamar leads the all-time series with HBU 19-9. The Huskies last trip to Beaumont came during the 2010 season with HBU winning 2-0 and 12-4.
The first meeting saw Lamar's Garret Autrey hit a home run in the bottom of the ninth inning off HBU's Michael Schulle to break a 5-5 tie and give the Cardinals the win. Catcher Tommy Henk had three hits for the Cardinals and was one of four players to drive in a run.
Jeff Abt, who started the game in left field, picked up the win in relief despite blowing the save by allowing a run in the top of the ninth inning. Bradley Brown, Curtis Jones and Jake Gonzalez had two hits apiece for Houston Baptist.
Freshman pitcher Vernnon Maxwell will get his first start of the season for the Cardinals. The Vidor High School product leads Lamar with 20 appearances on the season with a 0-1 record and a 3.98 earned run average. The right hander is fourth on the team in innings pitched with 31.2.
The Huskies will counter with freshman right hander Chad Valcoviak who is 0-2 on the year with an ERA of 16.05 in 12.1 innings of work.
After a strong weekend at the plate against Texas State, Lamar is now batting .273 as a team. The Cardinals hit .348 over the three-game series with the Bobcats, pounding out 39 hits against one of the best pitching staffs in the country.
Third baseman Darian Johnson leads the Cardinals with a .324 batting average. First baseman Brad Picha, who is carrying an eight-game hitting streak into Tuesday's contest, is now batting .312 with a team-leading 32 runs batted in.
At .302, designated hitter Seth Dornak is the other .300 hitter for the Cardinals. Right fielder Jude Vidrine, who earlier this season had an 11-game hitting streak, has now hit safely in eight straight games.
The Huskies are batting a solid .280 as a team with four players hitting at least .300. Senior Collin Hetzler leads the team with a .367 batting average, but has played in just 27 games. Center fielder Jake Gonzales is hitting .313 with 13 doubles, seven triples and 44 RBI.