EDINBURG, Texas – Lamar University baseball’s offense gave starting pitcher Carson Lance an early lead, and he settled in and guided the Cardinals to 5-1 win in the opener of a doubleheader with UT Rio Grande Valley, which was split with one win apiece Sunday at the UTRGV Baseball Stadium in non-conference action.

LU (7-5) fell in the nightcap on a three-run bottom of the seventh, right after Lamar put up its own three-run frame in the top of the inning – on a Reid Russell’s three-run shot to left field. The Vauqeros (10-2) won the game 6-5, which gave them the series win.

In the opener, three-straight innings win a solo run gave Lance (3-0) a 3-0 lead by the third inning. Lance, who carried a no-hitter into the fourth inning, pitched 5 2/3 innings with one hit and one run allowed. He walked and struck out six in the contest.

Cutter McDowell was hit by a pitch to start of the game, and promptly stole second before UTRGV starter Grant Connor (2-2) walked Bryndan Arredondo. Russell took the box with one out and hit a fly ball out to right that fell between Vaquero outfielders. The fly ball scored McDowell but had Arredondo cut down at second base.

Including a first inning run in the nightcap, the score in the first gave the Cardinals a 15-1 scoring advantage on the season in the first inning.

Phil Ingram lined a two-out double to left to start a second inning rally. The junior transfer moved up to third base on a wild pitch and Grant DeVore was walked. McDowell followed with a single to right center that scored Ingram and moved DeVore to third. The single chased Connor from the game after only 1 2/3 frames of work.

The third inning rally also happened with two out, starting with Robin Adames taking a pitch on the elbow. He advanced to second on a wild pitch and was followed by three-straight walks to Stefan Panayiotou, Cole Coker and Ingram.

In all, the Cardinals drew 10 walks in the contest and added another two hit by pitches. A free pass was involved in every inning LU scored, except the sixth – solo homer from Trey Silvers. Lamar’s final run of the first contest was in the ninth. Russell led it off with a double to right center, and after a walk and sacrifice bunt, he scored on a passed ball.

Nathan Gabryszwski relieved Lance in the sixth inning and pitched 1 1/3 frames with just a single hit allowed. Galen Andrews (1) earned the first save of his career on two innings for work and just one walk allowed.

The Vaqueros worked through five pitchers in total, and Andrew Padron carried the load with 4 1/3 innings. He gave up one run on four hits and a walk.

The Cardinals used the long ball in the second game, each run was a result of three. Silvers popped his second home run of the day and of the 2017 season in the first inning, a three ball, one strike pitch hit over the left field wall. After a three-run inning for UTRGV (one of two in the game), Payton Robertson pulled the Cardinals within one on his first career shot, this one to left. The pinch hitter turned around the first pitch he saw, and it was LU’s second pinch hit home run of the season (Panayiotou).

Russell blasted his third long ball of the season and gave LU the lead again in the seventh inning. McDowell was plunked to lead off the frame and was followed by a single through the left side from Coker. Russell belted a one ball, one strike pitch that put Lamar up 5-3.

Back-to-back hits and an error in the bottom of the seventh put Vaqueros on second and third. Cris Castillo cut it to 5-4 sacrifice fly to center field, and Anibal Leal was able to move from second to third. Two batters later, Tyler Torres singled through the right side and tied the game, and was the go-ahead run on a double to right field by Victor Garcia Jr.

Jimmy Johnson (0-2) suffered the loss on two frames. He allowed the three runs in the seventh on five hits, and the senior struck out four. Jace Campbell started the game for Lamar. He worked three innings and gave up three runs on five hits and two walks. The runs were the first he allowed all season. Brett Brown was the bridge between the two. The senior hurled three innings with two hits and three walks, but surrendered no runs.

Austin Douglas (2-0) took the win for the Vaqueros, and pitched 2 1/3 innings. He gave up two hits and three runs. Luis Acosta (2) earned his second save of the season and series on five outs with just one walk allowed.

As a team, the Cardinals finished the day (both games combined) with 18 hits, led by a 5-of-8 day from Russell and a 3-of-7 day from Coker. Russell had three runs batted in, two runs and a walk, and was a perfect 4-for-4 in the second game. Coker scored one run and drew two walks. Mitch Andrews, who only played in the second game, was 3-of-3 at the dish.

Lamar returns home for a midweek contest against Rice at 6 p.m. Tuesday evening before it heads back on the road for the Southland Conference opener, a three-game set at preseason favorite Sam Houston State.