Cardinals power by Baylor, 11-1

WACO, Texas – Sparked by Reid Russell’s second inning grand slam, Lamar University’s offense exploded for eight runs in the first three innings and led the Cardinals in a 11-1 win over Baylor in non-conference baseball action at Baylor Ballpark Wednesday night.

Already up 2-0 in the second inning, Russell drilled a pitch over the left field wall with the bases loaded and blasted the Cardinals’ (17-14) third grand slam of the season. After Bryndan Arredondo’s sacrifice fly to center field sent Trey Silvers home from third base – to make it 2-0 - and put two outs on the board, Phil Ingram reached on an error by Baylor’s (19-10) shortstop Tucker Cascadden. Lamar took advantage.

Grant Devore followed with a single to put two Cardinals and Cutter McDowell drew a walk that loaded the bags. Russell had a 2-2 count on him and blasted his seventh home run of the season that put LU up 6-0.

In the bottom of the second, the Cardinals used a 6-4-3 double play to send the offense back in the third inning for two more runs. Silvers started the rally when he drew a one-out walk. Coker followed him with a single to center and Arredondo loaded the bases with another walk in the inning. Ingram delivered the big blow of the frame with a two-run single to left field.

“We shuffled the lineup a little bit, and I really liked the way it looks. We’re starting to hit all the way through the order. Grant DeVore and Chad Fleischman have been big and Phil (Ingram) has come on strong,” said head coach Will Davis. “We were able to string some together and then capitalize with the big inning.”

From there, Cardinal pitching and defense took over with only one run allowed – in the bottom of the third inning. In the fourth, Baylor put two aboard with Bears on first and third with no outs but a strikeout by Nathan Gabryszwski and 6-4-3 double play spoiled that.

In the fifth, two Bears reached but Brett Brown forced a fly out and ground out, nice plays from both Chad Fleischman and Silvers, ruined the rally. Ryan Cawthon took over in the sixth with a man on first, and eventually Baylor put men on second and third with one out. Cawthon responded with two fly outs.

In the seventh, Cascadden reached on an infield error, but two ground outs and a fly out induced by Cawthon spoiled another rally.

“We had a little more pitching this week with Ryan Johnson and Gabby each working two innings. Cawthon really stepped up today,” said Davis. “The outsider may have thought that the game was over at 8-1, but I knew that it wasn’t over. He kept putting fires out and gave us three full innings, which is what we needed.”

Arredondo pushed it out to an 11-1 game with a three-run shot in the ninth inning, a rally started by back-to-back singles from Fleischman and Silvers. Fleischman led it off with a single up the middle and Silvers followed with a one-bagger through the left side. Arredondo’s bomb was the fourth of his season, which ties him with Silvers for third on the team.

The Cardinals started the game with a leadoff double from McDowell, who scored took third on a single from Russell and scored on Robin Adames’ ground ball. That was the 17th time in 30 games that LU scored in the first inning, and in those game LU is 12-5.

The Cardinals started Johnson (1-0) on the hill for Lamar and went a predetermined two innings. He was scoreless and hitless with three walks allowed. Gabryszwski worked two frames with the lone run allowed on three hits. Brown was hitless in one inning of work with three walks allowed.

Cawthon had the longest outing for the Cardinals at three full frames. He gave up only two hits in his outing and struck out another two. Tanner Driskill took over in the ninth and struck out the side to end the game.

Big Red chased the Baylor starter Alex Phillips (3-2) after 2 1/3 innings. He gave up all eight runs, four earned, with six hits and three walks. In total, Baylor used seven pitchers with Hayden Kettler’s 3 2/3 frames as the longest for the Bears.

The Cardinals head back to Louisiana to face New Orleans in a three-game Southland Conference set that is slated to start at 6:30 p.m. Friday night. The second game of the series is at 2 p.m. Saturday and the finale at 1 p.m. Sunday. Lamar returns home Tuesday for a 4 p.m. first pitch against Grambling.