BEAUMONT, Texas (Lamar Athletics) – The theme of the weekend was the big inning for the Cardinals while the pitching staff held the Islanders down, and Saturday’s series finale was more of the same. Lamar University baseball threw up a four-run third frame to grab a lead and added the insurance it needed in the fifth to grab a 6-4 win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at Vincent-Beck Stadium in Southland Conference action.
The win gave the Cardinals (22-15, 9-9 Southland) their second Southland sweep of the season, but more importantly drew them back to .500 in league action in the 2017 campaign, after a 0-5 start. The Cardinals are on their second five-game win streak of the season and are 12-5 in their last 17 contest.
The Islanders fell to 13-23 and 5-10 in Southland play.
Down 1-0 after Jackson Owens’ two-out, solo home run in the first inning, the Cardinals rallied with a four-spot in the third inning, which started with a leadoff double from nine-hole hitter Grant DeVore. Cutter McDowell reached on an error in the outfield and Reid Russell drew a walk that loaded the bases.
Robin Adames took a walk to tie it at 1-1 and Trey Silvers punched through with a single into right field that scored McDowell and put LU up 2-1. Chad Fleischman reached on a fielder’s choice that sent home Russell and cut down Silvers at second. The Cardinals loaded the bases again when Bryndan Arredondo reached on a walk for Payton Robertson’s RBI single through the left side that scored Adames.
The Islanders cut it to 4-2 in the fifth, but Lamar put up a couple of insurance runs in the sixth to push it back to 6-2. Silvers led off that inning with a walk and took second base on a wild pitch before Coker ripped a double down the left field line to score him.
Coker took third on a single from Arredondo and scored when Robertson grounded into an unusual fielder’s choice play. Robertson’s grounder was to third baseman Owens, which froze Coker at third, but on the throw to get Robertson at first – which was late – the freshman tried to head home but was caught in a run down. Coker eventually sold out for home and avoided the tag to claim LU’s final run.
Corpus Christi tried to rally in the seventh with two of their own that started with an error on the infield. Brian Deaver, the runner who reached – ran to third base on a double from Cullen Jozwiak. Both runs unearned, Deaver scored on Dawson Yates’ sacrifice fly and Jozwiak on a grounder from Lukas Hermanson.
Driskill took over for LU’s starter Jace Campbell after the error and double, and mowed through three innings with not a single base runner allowed and four strikeouts, including a strikeout in order in the ninth inning. He punched out Nick Anderson looking and Deaver and Jozwiak swinging to seal the win.
Campbell (3-1) took the win with only one earned run – four in total - in five innings of work. He gave up five hits and three strikeouts; the junior did not walk a batter. It’s the third time this season that the Cardinal pitching staff pitched nine innings without a walk allowed. Driskill’s save was the second of his season.
Devin Skapura (1-4) wore the loss, but left in the third inning with an injury. He was responsible for all four runs in the third inning, and gave up four hits with two walks. Chris Cooper relieved him and worked two scoreless innings. The final runs of the game for Lamar were scored on David Worrell. He worked four innings and gave up two runs on four hits and two walks.
The Cardinal offense put up 10 hits in the contest, led by a 3-for-3 day from Arredondo. Coker and Silvers were each 2-of-3 and McDowell, Roberts and DeVore accounted for the other base knocks. Silvers, Coker and Adames all knocked in a run and scored one.
The contest was the final of four-straight played at Vincent-Beck Stadium for Lamar. It heads back on the road for a matchup with nationally-ranked LSU on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. before a Southland Conference weekend series at Abilene Christian.