Cardinals fall in heartbreaker at OSU

STILLWATER, Okla. – A resilient Lamar University baseball club battled back and almost did the unthinkable in the bottom of the ninth inning, but Oklahoma State did what it needed when it walked off the Cardinals 6-5 Friday night at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium in non-conference action. It’s the second-straight game that LU worked back to tie it late but fell in a walkoff.

Tied at 5-5 in the bottom of the ninth, Michael Neusifter led off with a double into left field, and Cowboys reached first and third with no outs on a fielder’s choice. With the game on the line, both Brett Brown and Chad Fleischman made great plays at the plate on squeezes to keep the game tied, but Garrett McCain’s single into right field allowed Cameron Dobbs to score from third base.

The Cardinals trailed the Cowboys 5-2 in the seventh inning, but Lamar put up three in the seventh to tie it up. Phil Ingram led off the inning with a walk, and Fleischman moved him up with a single through the left side. Vincent Dellocono reached on a fielder’s choice that sent Fleischman back to the dugout before Grant DeVore picked up an RBI on an infield single. After pinch hitter Chaneng Varela reached on a walk that loaded the bases, Robin Adames ripped a single through the left side and scored two.

Brett Brown (1-1) pitched a big game for the Cardinals despite wearing the loss. He pitched 4 1/3 innings with two runs allowed and struck out four. After the Cardinals three-run seventh, he put up a shutdown inning in the OSU seventh and stranded a runner in the eighth.

The Cardinals were one pitch away from grabbing a lead in the ninth inning. They loaded the bags, but OSU’s Trey Cobb (1-0) managed to end the inning with a strikeout. DeVore reached on a one-out single in the ninth and took third on a walk to Varela and fielder’s choice from Adames.

After back-to-back home runs from Cade Cabbiness and Neustifter in the second inning put Oklahoma State up 2-0, an error in the outfield allowed the inning to continue and the Cowboys rallied to score that run on back-to-back two-out base knocks Ryan Cash and Garrett McCain.

The third and final run of the second was the first of two unearned runs for OSU. The second was in the fourth inning when a two-out infield error allowed Cameron Dobbs to get on and reach second for a single through the right side from McCain.

Just before the Cowboys’ run in the fourth, a two-out double from Chad Fleischman drew the Cardinals to 3-2 in the top of the frame. Adames led off that inning with a single and took second on a one-out walk to Bryndan Arredondo. Arredondo was chopped down at second base on a fielder’s choice off of Phil Ingram’s bat, but Ingram managed to score from first on Fleischman’s double to left center.

The errors escalated Carson Lance’s pitch count, and he was pulled after four innings of work on a predetermined count. He gave up four runs, two earned, on six hits and three walks. The junior starter struck out four. Nathan Gabryszwski took over in the fifth, but two walks after a double had him pulled for the game. It was his first outing since April 11, after battling an injury. 

OSU’s Tyler Buffett held LU’s lineup under control until the seventh inning. He finished the day with five runs, three earned, on five hits and three walks, but three of those runs and two of the hits were in the seventh frame. Carson Teel pitched two scoreless innings with two hits allowed and two walks.

DeVore led the Cardinals’ eight-hit effort with a 3-of-4 night with a run and RBI. Adames and Fleischman each had two hits in the game, and Arredondo came out with one. Arredondo impoved his already career-high reached base streak to 19.

Adames and Fleischman each had two-RBI base knocks.

The Cardinals and Cowboys will go for round two at 3 p.m. Saturday afternoon. Right-hander Jimmy Johnson will face off with right Joe Leinhard.