BEAUMONT (Lamar Athletics) – A four-run seventh proved to be enough on Saturday afternoon vs. Texas-Pan American, but it wasn't without drama as the Lamar baseball team held on for a 5-3 victory over the visiting Broncs at Vincent-Beck Stadium.
With the win, the Cardinals improved to 7-4 on the year, and UTPA dropped to 6-5.
After giving up a run in the top of the seventh, Justin Eckols and Sam Bumpers led off the bottom half of the frame with back-to-back walks. Jude Vidrine evened the game up with a one-out single to left, and Kevin Santana put LU ahead, doubling to left. Two more runs would cross in the inning, including one on a Kyle Markum pinch hit to give LU a seemingly safe 4-1 lead with six UTPA outs left in the ballgame.
Santana and Vidrine each finished 2-for-4 at the plate with a walk and a run, and as a team, LU out-hit the visitors from the Western Athletic Conference 8-7.
Each team pushed a run across in the eighth, setting the stage for yet another nail-biter of a ninth inning. Jesus Garcia led off the frame for UTPA with a walk, and he later scored on a Sam Bumpers throwing error. A wild pitch put another runner 90 feet from home, but Danny Fernandez was able to stop the bleeding, striking out Dillon Engelhart to force a rubber game on Sunday.
Fernandez earned his first save of the year, allowing a walk and striking out two in the ninth, and Brandon Kirkham was credited with his first win of the season, tossing 1.1 innings and giving up two scores (one earned) on a hit and a walk.
Will Hibbs threw 4.2 scoreless frames in his third start of the season, giving up three hits and striking out four.
The Cards and Broncs are set for 1 p.m. showdown at Vincent-Beck Stadium on Sunday.