Lamar to open baseball series with McNeese State on Friday
BEAUMONT – Lamar University will look to win its second straight Southland Conference baseball series this weekend when it continues its rivalry with McNeese State from Vincent-Beck Stadium. The three-game series opens Friday night with first pitch scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
Lamar took 2-of-3 at Nicholls last weekend, and then defeated Prairie View A&M 9-0 on Tuesday, to improve to 16-23 on the year. At 8-13 in conference play, Lamar stands tied for 10th place but just two games out of sixth place with four league series left to play.
Lamar and McNeese will also play Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. The first two games will be broadcast live by KLVI 560 AM with Harold Mann providing the play-by-play. There will be a post game autograph session following Saturday's game, and Sunday is little league appreciation day.
The Cardinals have faced the Cowboys more times than any other school on the baseball field with Lamar holding a sizable 110-68-2 series advantage. McNeese took 2-of-3 from Lamar last year after the Cards won 5-3 at home before losing 12-4 and 4-2 in Lake Charles, La.
This will be the first time since the 2006 season that the entire series will be played in the same ballpark. Since that time, each school has hosted at least one of the three games in the series.
Lamar has won three of its last four games with its offense coming to life. The Cardinals scored a season-high 12 runs in their Sunday win at Nicholls before putting up a season-high 18 hits in Tuesday's win over Prairie View.
As a team, the Cardinals have raised their batting average to .261 with 4.1 runs scored per game. Over its past 10 games, Lamar is hitting .309 while limiting its opponents to a .268 batting average.
Junior designated hitter Seth Dornak leads the team with a .319 batting average, and he is hitting .347 in SLC games. Third baseman Darian Johnson, who was 3-for-5 against the Panthers on Tuesday, is second on the team with a .306 batting average.
Center fielder Garret Autrey is hitting just .243 on the year but leads Lamar with 26 runs driven in. First baseman Brad Picha is just behind with 24 RBI.
Junior left hander Jonathan Dziedzic is scheduled to get the pitching start Friday evening. The former Atascocita High School standout is 3-2 with a team-best 2.98 earned run average. Dziedzic is coming off a seven-inning start at Nicholls in which he earned the win after allowing just six hits with nine strikeouts.
Junior Blake Ware will get the start for the Cowboys (17-21 overall, 11-10 in the Southland). The right hander is 5-4 with a 2.63 ERA and leads the team with 61.2 innings pitched.
McNeese is 11th in the 12-team Southland Conference in batting average at .244. The Cowboys are scoring 3.9 runs per game while giving up just over five.
Senior right fielder Seth Granger leads the team with a .329 batting average and 11 doubles. Granger also has 16 RBI and is 11-for-12 on stolen base attempts. Junior Michael Sullivan has a team-best 21 RBI despite his .219 batting average.@
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