Winner of this weekend’s series will make Southland Tournament
BEAUMONT – The 2014 Southland Baseball Tournament may start next week in Conway, Ark., but for Lamar and Oral Roberts, it will begin this week as the two sides will battle each other for one of the final spots in the field at J.L. Johnson Stadium in Tulsa, Okla.
Both teams as well as Central Arkansas enter the final three games with matching 14-13 Southland records, which makes a three-way tie for seventh in the league. The top eight teams in the conference standings will advance to the tournament, and UCA will be taking on last-place New Orleans, which carries a 2-25 league mark and is riding a nine-game losing streak. Depending on results around the league, LU could finish the regular season anywhere from fifth to ninth in the conference standings.
LU, which carries a 29-22 overall record, will be looking to get back on track this week after dropping each of the previous two series to Houston Baptist and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Prior to the last two weeks, the Red and White had won four consecutive conference series, largely due to its imposing line-up, which features seven players hitting .280 or better at the plate. Overall, LU is second in the league in both batting average (.292) and on-base percentage (.384), and both marks sit in the top 35 in the country.
The primary engine of the Card machine is Sam Bumpers, who is hitting a scorching .457 in league games with 16 extra-base hits and 29 scores in 27 games. Jude Vidrine, a .321 hitter, and Reed Seeley, who boasts of a .289 clip, have also been huge contributors as each rank in the top 15 nationally in walks, combining for 83 and touching home 87 times.
On the mound, Chase Angelle will get his first series-opening start of the season, and he’ll be looking to continue his fantastic form for much of the season. The southpaw out of Orange has been the Saturday starter all season, and he is coming off a 9.1 inning performance in a loss last week, and he’s recorded 11 quality starts in 13 appearances this season. Angelle carries a 4-6 record on the year with a 3.44 earned run average and just 14 walks over 89 innings of work.
On Friday, the Cards will turn to another lefty in David Carver, who picked up a loss last week at TAMUCC. The Reseda, Calif., native has become a solid arm in recent weeks for LU, picking up a win at Rice and tossing six shutout innings in a Senior Day win earlier this month. He is currently 2-2 on the year with a 3.78 ERA.
Will Hibbs, a sophomore out of Friendswood, will make the final start of the regular season on Sunday, and he’ll be aiming to improve his 4.06 ERA and 4-3 record.
ORU, which is currently 29-24 overall, has won back-to-back Southland series, picking two of three from both Abilene Christian and Central Arkansas. The Golden Eagles are 16-10 at home this season, and first pitch on both Thursday and Friday is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Sunday’s finale is slated for 1 p.m.