BEAUMONT, Texas – The Lamar University baseball team dropped its first home game since February when the Cardinals fell to Houston Baptist twice, 7-2 and 2-1, Friday afternoon in a Southland Conference twinbill at Vincent-Beck Stadium.
The night cap of the doubleheader turned into a pitcher’s duel that the Huskies (13-11, 5-3 Southland) were able to take with some manufactured runs in the sixth inning. Brandon Brintz led off the inning with a bunt single to the left side, and a well-executed hit-and-run was put on for a single in the second base hole from Spencer Halloran.
With two on and no outs, Jake Pulcheon singled up the middle and scored Brintz. Lamar (15-13, 4-6 Southland) starter Jimmy Johnson (2-3) struck out Carey Jones for the first out. HBU’s runners on first and second took off on the pitch stayed out of the double play on Austin Zillweger ground out to short. Joe Van Marter had a big two-out hit that scored the final run of the inning in Halloran.
Robin Adames pulled the Cardinals within one in the bottom of that sixth with his fourth home run of the season, this one to left field. He stepped into the box and turned on a 1-1 pitch with two outs.
From there, relief pitchers stole the show. Lamar used two for 2 1/3 innings after HBU put Johnson in some trouble. Ryan Johnson took over with the bases loaded and two outs and used only one pitch to pop up Pulcheon to center field. Tanner Driskill took the mound when the Cardinals came out in the eighth. He worked two innings with just one hit allowed and stuck out two.
Like J. Johnson, HBU’s Christian Thames (4-1) was put in a jam by the LU batters, and was pulled with two outs for JT Newton, who took over and got the final out on a ground ball. Reigning Southland Conference Hitter of the Week Chad Fleischman started that rally with a single up the middle, but was rolled up on a fielder’s choice from Phil Ingram. Ingram took second on a single up the middle from Grant DeVore before Newton was called into the game.
Thames pitched 6 2/3 innings with only the home run allowed. He gave up six hits and walked two. J. Johnson matched Thames’ innings pitched with eight hits and two walks; he struck out four batters.
Cutter McDowell and DeVore each had two base knocks in the contest, DeVore’s was 2-for-2 with a walk. As a unit, the offense had seven hits and drew two walks.
In the first game, the Cardinals – who outhit the Huskies 11-10 - could never seem to get the big hit, four of the eight runners left on base were scoring position. In the second inning, Big Red loaded the bases with no outs after Adames, Trey Silvers and Bryndan Arredondo all reached on singles. HBU starter Addison Russ (1-2) worked out of it with a strikeout and double play.
In the fourth, singles from Reid Russell and Adames had LU in position with two on and no outs, but a fielder’s choice, strikeout and groundout ended that threat.
Adames ended the game with three hits in four at-bats, which notched his team-leading 12th multi-hit game, and had four hits in eight bats in both games combined. His final single of game one was in the eighth inning and put Russell in position to score on a two-out single to left from Fleischman. Russell and Fleischman each had two hits in the contest.
The Huskies jumped out to 3-0 lead by the second inning, and used a few Lamar miscues to gain it. Lamar starting pitcher Carson Lance (4-3) led off the inning with the first of his two walks in the frame – both were within the first three batters. With two on and one out, Tyler Depreta-John singled to right field and took second base on LU’s choice to throw to third. His single scored Carey Jones.
For the rest of the inning, two infield errors came back to hurt. Zane Otten hit a ground ball to the right side, but the LU infield was charged with an error that allowed Fitzgerald to score. Two batters later, Halloran popped it up on the infield, but it fell through and allowed HBU to add another.
A three-run home run from Depreta-John in the sixth pushed the Husky lead to 6-0 before Lamar netted its first run of the game in the seventh inning on a one-out bomb from Fleischman. He turned on a 1-1 pitch and put it over the left field wall.
Russ pitched eight innings for the Huskies and gave up 11 hits with one walk and struck out seven Cardinals. He gave up both of LU’s runs. Daniel Endsley relieved him for the ninth and worked a perfect frame with on strikeout.
Lance was the first of three Cardinal pitchers. He worked four innings with three runs allowed, two earned, with one hit and four walks. He ended his day with seven retired, but had already reached the 96-pitch mark. Ryan Cawthon took over for three innings. He surrendered the three-run home and struck out three. The sixth was his only bad inning and was perfect in the other two.
Brent Janak worked two innings with six hits and a run allowed.
The Cardinals will try to avoid the sweep Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. when the two take the field again at Vincent-Beck Stadium. LU’s Jace Campbell (1-1, 3.76 earned run average) will take on HBU’s Zach Carter (4-2, 2.95). After the series is complete, LU will hit the road for four games, a midweek at Baylor and SLC set at New Orleans.
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