BEAUMONT, Texas – (LAMAR ATHLETICS) A sixth inning bases-clearing double from Houston Baptist tested the resolve of the Lamar University baseball team, but the Cardinals responded with authority on a five-run inning when they downed the Huskies 8-4 Saturday afternoon in Southland Conference action at Vincent-Beck Stadium.
Down to a 2-2 count in the sixth inning on HBU’s Austin Zillweger, Tanner Driskill delivered a pitch to the low and outside corner that looked good, but was called a ball. That loaded the count for Zillweger, who fouled off two pitches before delivering three-run double to right field and put the Huskies up 4-3.
Lamar responded in the bottom of the frame with five runs, three on a blast over the right field wall from Chad Fleischman. Phil Ingram led off the inning by reaching first on an error by second baseman Jack Fitzgerald. HBU’s pitcher Dan Endsley induced a fly ball before he walked Cutter McDowell to put on two on with one out.
Cole Coker followed with a single up the middle to load the bags for Reid Russell, who lifted a fly ball to right field and sent home Ingram and tie it. Robin Adames came through with a clutch single through the left side that chased home Coker from second base before Fleischman’s third long ball of the season and third in the last five games.
“We’re staring down the barrel of a sweep at home. There was a call that could’ve gone either way and we didn’t get it. They used it to take the lead,” said head coach Will Davis. “That was a gut punch, I won’t lie. Our guys came right back and responded.
“I think that is a microcosm of this team. We’ve faced adversity and injuries, but we’ve never come out flat the next day,” said Davis. “We’ve never let one loss affect the next game. We saw that today especially in the sixth inning.”
Fleischman showed off is defense in the top of the seventh with a bare-handed play on a slow roller that ended the frame and kept it at 8-4 before the Cardinals added an insurance run in the bottom of the fame on McDowell’s sacrifice fly to right. That scored Bryndan Arredondo - who reached on a single, took second on a single and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt from Grant DeVore.
Another run was added in the eighth inning on a wicked hop off the bat of Trey Silvers that leaped over Fitzgerald at second base. Reid Russell scored from second on the play after he led off the inning with a single.
LU opened the game up with a run in the first inning, a bases-loaded sacrifice fly by Fleischman that scored Coker from third base. Coker reached on the first of back-to-back, one-out singles by him and Russell. Both advanced on a wild pitch before a walk to Adames loaded the bags.
HBU tied it at 1-1 in the third, but LU took a 2-1 lead in the fourth on Russell’s first sacrifice fly that chased home Grant DeVore. DeVore reached with a one-out single, but the bases were loaded in the inning after an error and fielder’s choice.
Fleischman picked up four runs batted in on the day, and finished the weekend 4-for-11 with six RBI and two runs scored. The reigning Southland Hitter of the Week had six RBI last weekend against Incarnate Word, totaling 12 RBI in his last six league contests.
“Chad cares so much, and it’s been great to see him so successful,” said Davis. “He’s really solidified third base defensively for us. His at-bats have been great, so much that I moved him up to the five-hole (of the lineup) and he really responded.”
The Cardinals pounded out 13 hits with four multi-hit games in the lineup. McDowell, Coker and Russell – the first, second and third hitters of the order – combined to go 6-of-10 and all three had two hits. Russell was 2-for-2 with a walk, two RBI and a run scored. Grant DeVore, the nine-hole hitter, provided two hits in three at-bats with two runs scored.
There was not one time through the order that at least one of the four did not get a hit.
Jace Campbell started the game for the Cardinals and pitched 5 1/3 innings with four runs allowed on six hits and two walks. He wasn’t on the mound for the three run double, but all three runners were his responsibility. Driskill (3-3) took the win on 3 2/3 frames of work. He allowed two hits, one walk and struck out four.
Carter was HBU’s starter and worked only two innings and gave up two runs on four hits and three walks. Endsley worked 3 2/3 with five runs allowed – none earned – on four hits.
Lamar hits the road for four games, starting with Baylor Wednesday at 6 p.m. and finishing at New Orleans for another Southland Conference weekend. It returns home on April 11th for Grambling followed by a Thursday-Saturday series with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.