TULSA, Okla. (Lamar Athletics) - Facing a second straight de facto elimination game on Saturday, the Lamar baseball team scored twice in the final three innings to beat host Oral Roberts 3-1 and punch a ticket to next week's Southland Tournament in Conway, Ark.
After using up Saturday's originally scheduled starting pitcher in a win on Friday night, LU looked to its bullpen for production, and it paid off as the senior duo of Lance Warren and Hunter Perry combined to hold the Golden Eagle line-up to seven hits and one run. Perry, who entered the game in the third, was sublime, allowing just four hits over the games final seven frames to improve the 3-0 on the season.
"I've seen a lot of pitchers step up, but I don't know if I've seen anyone do it like he did today," head coach Jim Gilligan said. "It was a magnificent ball game, and then we played great defense. Everyone was stepping up, and it was just a great team win for us."
With the victory, LU improved to 31-23 on the year and 16-14 on the season, clinching the eighth and final spot in the Southland Tournament. Oral Roberts ended ninth with a 30-26 record and a 15-15 league mark.
"It was just a great series this weekend, with the first two games going to extra innings," Gilligan said. "We were as good this weekend as we've been this entire season, and having to win three out of the last four to make it is huge for our confidence. These are the kind of weekends that prepare you to play in the conference tournament."
After ORU grabbed the opening tally in the second, Jude Vidrine, LU's most senior player, tied it up in the ensuing half-ining singling to right to score Tyler West. Vidrine finished 1-for-5 on the day, and West was 2-for-4.
Jacoby Middleton led off the seventh with a double and got within 90 feet from home on a Tyler Sullivan single. Justin Eckols grounded into a double play in the following at-bat, but Middleton was still able to score and put the Cards on top.
Middleton ended 2-for-4, and as a team, LU out-hit ORU 9-7.
West singled and later scored on a wild pitch in the ninth to hand the Red and White the insurance run, and Perry obliged in the second half of the frame, setting down the Eagles in order to seal the deal.
LU will return to action on Wednesday with the opening day of the Southland Tournament at Bear Stadium on the campus of the University of Central Arkansas. More information will be provided in due course at LamarCardinals.com and Southland.org.