MILLINGTON, Tennessee — Lamar University led St. Louis 7-3 heading into the bottom of the ninth but the Billikens rallied for five runs behind two home runs – including a grand slam – to defeat the Cardinals, 8-7, Friday afternoon at the USA Baseball Stadium Complex.
The loss ended Lamar’s small three-game win streak.
The Cardinals collected their seven runs on nine hits with an error, but left seven runners on base. St. Louis scored their eight runs on seven hits with two errors. The Billikens stranded six runners on the day.
Jacob Ellis got the start for Big Red and went 5.0 innings allowing two runs on three hits with five strikeouts and three walks. Foster Kreuzer came on in the sixth and pitched two perfect innings, but the Billikens did the majority of their damage in the final two innings.
Seven different Cardinals collected a hit Friday, with Ben MacNaughton (2-for-3, RBI, double) and Kirkland Banks (2-for-3, run) collecting multi-hit efforts. Junior Ethan Ruiz had just one hit on the day but it was a home run.
Henry Litman took the mound for St. Louis and was touched up for three runs on four hits through 5.1.
He was also hurt by three walks in the game. Reid Hendrickson pitched a scoreless ninth inning to get the win.
Trailing by 2-1 heading into the sixth inning, the Cardinals jumped back out in front after plating two runs on four hits in the sixth.
LU had runners on second and third with no out when Josh Blankenship drove in a run when he grounded out to third. Junior Kanin Dodge double the right field scoring the next runs.
The sixth started a stretch of three straight innings that saw LU cross the plate, as the Cardinals got a solo home run from Ruiz in the seventh and scored three runs on two hits and took advantage of two Billiken errors in the eighth. St. Louis answered back with a solo home run in their half of the eighth, which set the stage for the ninth inning.
After loading the bases to start the inning, the Cardinals got an out before Ethan Sitzman homered to right tying the game.
Tyler Fogarty then ended the game with a home run to right field.
The Cardinals return to action Saturday for the second game in the series. First pitch is slated for a 1 p.m. from the USA Baseball Stadium Complex.