EDINBURG, Texas – Two home runs in the fourth inning gave UT Rio Grande Valley a lead, and the Lamar University baseball team was not able to overcome it in a 3-1 loss Friday night at the UTRGV Baseball Stadium in Edinburg, Texas in non-conference action.
The contest was the series opener of a three-game set for the two squads, and the last two will be played at noon on both Saturday and Sunday. The win moved UTRGV (9-1) back into the win column after a loss on Tuesday, and for the Cardinals (6-4) it was the third-straight loss.
Sunday’s finale can be seen live on Spectrum Sports, channel 323 for Spectrum cable subscribers.
On a full count, after a narrowly-missed called ball, Austin Siener popped a solo home run to lead off the fourth inning. LU starter Tanner Driskill (1-1) forced the next two out on fly outs, but Joseph Collazo turned on a fast ball and drilled it over left field wall, just inside the foul pole.
It was Driskill’s first loss of the season in his third start. He worked seven innings with four hits allowed, three runs and struck out four batters. He pushed his consecutive innings without a walks stretch to 19.2 frames.
The Cardinals had their chance to answer in the top of the fifth with the bases loaded and no outs, but UTRGV starter Carter Johnson (3-0) was able to bear down with two strikeouts after surrendering three-straight walks that loaded the bases. Johnson did surrender a run in the inning on a wild pitch that allowed Cole Coker to scamper home. Johnson pitched five innings with just the one run allowed, and struck out six with five walks.
Up 2-1, the Vaqueros added an insurance run in the bottom of fifth on an RBI-single off of Jose Garcia that scored Tyler Torres. Torres led off the inning with a single to left field.
In the top of the seventh frame, LU was able to get a runner to third base with just one out, but UTRGV reliever Josh Witherspoon was able to escape the inning with a strikeout and fly out.
Reid Russell saw his 10-game hit streak snapped, but he missed his third home run of the season by a foot heading into the wind. He drove a one ball, one strike pitch to deep left field, where Garcia was able to track it down and catch it at the wall.
The Cardinals were held to just three hits in the game, the fewest since they had two against Illinois in 2015. They drew seven walks - tied for the third-highest on the year – but was not able to get the timely hit and stranded eight on the base paths.
All singles, Bryndan Arredondo had one in the third, Robin Adames had one in the sixth and Trey Silvers with one in the eighth. Cutter McDowell was 0-for-2 on the day, but had two of the seven walks.
Galen Andrews relieved Driskill in the eighth inning. He allowed a single, but rolled him up in a 6-4-3 double play with freshman Payton Robertson and Chaneng Varela. UTRGV dipped into the bullpen in the sixth inning and worked Witherspoon for three innings. He gave up two hits, walked two and struck out one.
Luis Acosta (1) entered in the ninth and collected the Vaqueros’ first save of the season on a perfect inning.
Carson Lance (2-0, 3.00 earned run average) will get the ball on the hill for the Cardinals Saturday, and he will be opposed by Andrew Garcia (2-0, 2.65).
The series against UTRGV is the first of three-straight road weekend series for Lamar. Before it opens league play at Sam Houston State, LU will return to Vincent-Beck Stadium for a midweek contest against Rice at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
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