Lamar enters final baseball series in need of a sweep

GO CARDINALS <strong>Jeff Abt drove in seven runs in two games against UTSA last year</strong>
Jeff Abt drove in seven runs in two games against UTSA last year

May 16, 2012

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SAN ANTONIO - Lamar University will enter its final regular season baseball weekend at UTSA in need of a sweep if the Cardinals are going to qualify for next week's Southland Conference Tournament. The three-game series with the Roadrunners will begin Thursday evening with first pitch scheduled for 6 p.m.

The Cardinals begin the day in 11th place with a 12-18 conference record and a 20-29 overall mark. Not only will the Cardinals need a sweep to qualify for the eight-team league tournament, but they will likely need help from at least one team.

There are six teams that Lamar cannot catch which means that the Cardinals are fighting for one of the two remaining spots. Lamar is two games behind Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Stephen F. Austin, one game behind Northwestern State and a half game behind Nicholls.

Lamar has played in the Southland Conference Tournament every year since 2001, including winning the event in 2002, 2004 and 2010 during that span.

At 21-30 overall and 10-19 in Southland play, UTSA is in last place in the league standings and has already been eliminated from advancing to the conference tournament. The Roadrunners are coming off a 14-3 loss at No. 4 Baylor on Tuesday.

After sweeping the Cardinals last year at home, the Roadrunners now have a slim 25-24 series advantage. UTSA won by scores of 5-2, 9-8 in 10 innings and 13-12, each time denying LU head coach Jim Gilligan his 1,200th career win.

Lamar carried a 12-10 lead into the bottom of the ninth in last year's third game only to see the Roadrunners score three runs to steal the 13-12 victory. Jeff Abt, Jude Vidrine and Andrew Dewey each drove in three runs in the game for the Cardinals.

The Cardinals are coming off a 9-1 victory over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Sunday which was the only win in the series for Lamar. After taking 2-of-3 from Nicholls and McNeese State in back-to-back weekends, the Cardinals have now lost 2-of-3 to both Texas State and AMCC.

Junior Jonathan Dziedzic is scheduled to start Thursday's game on the mound for the Cardinals. A left hander, Dziedzic is 4-4 on the season and leads the Cardinals with a 3.66 earned run average.

UTSA will counter with a left hander of its own in senior Casey Selsor. A three-year letterwinner for the Roadrunners, Selsor is 4-7 with a 4.92 ERA.

The Cardinals have been strong at the plate lately, raising the team batting average to .277 which is good enough for fourth in the Southland. Despite a 4-6 record over its last 10 games, Lamar is hitting .336 as a team during that stretch.

Three Cardinals are batting over .300 with third baseman Darian Johnson leading the way at .318. First baseman Brad Picha, who leads the Cardinals with 34 runs batted in, is hitting .315 and designated hitter Seth Dornak is at .305.

Picha has been especially strong at the plate lately, hitting .474 with 10 RBI over the Cardinals' last 10 contests. Center fielder Garret Autrey is batting .400 over that same span, while Abt is hitting .378.

The Roadrunners are hitting .269 as a team and are tied for second in the Southland Conference with 23 home runs. UTSA's 5.32 team ERA is the worst of the 12 Southland Conference programs.

Not only will Selsor start on the mound Thursday night, but he is also the Roadrunners' leading hitter at .304, adding 10 doubles and 27 RBI. Third baseman Ryan Dalton is hitting .302 with seven home runs and 34 RBI, while center fielder Daniel Rockett leads the team with 39 runs driven in.




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