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Lamar drops series finale to Rhode Island, 4-2

The Cardinals will head to Austin on Wednesday morning to play at #22 Texas with first pitch set for 4 p.m.

BEAUMONT, Texas —  Loading the bases twice, Lamar University baseball came up just short of a series sweep of the University of Rhode Island. The Cardinals (2-1) lost to the Rams (1-2) in a 4-2 decision on Sunday in Vincent-Beck Stadium.

"Luck didn't really go our way today," said head coach Will Davis. "But that being said, wee played errorless baseball for three games, which if we do that all year we'll be fine, and our pitching staff did a great job. By and large I'd say we're very pleased with how this weekend went."

As was the theme all weekend, Lamar's pitching staff did a tremendous job on Sunday. Starter Austin Faith threw five innings of two hit, two run baseball with two walks and three strikeouts. He was relieved by Max Mize in the sixth, and Mize went an inning and two-thirds with two hits, one earned run, a walk, and two strikeouts. Jack DallasChristian Grigsby, and Josh Hranicky combined for the final two and a third innings, allowing just two hits and two walks while striking out three. The Rams were shutout until the sixth inning, and did all of their scoring in just the sixth and seventh.

It appeared as if Lamar would get off to a fast start offensively when Avery George got the first of his two hits on the day in a lead-off single, but the junior from Humble, Texas, got caught up in a bad luck double play when Cole Girouard lined one right to the first baseman who stepped on the bag and got both Cardinals out. A grounder ended the first with the game still scoreless.

The Rams and Cards went down in order in the second, and Lamar was able to draw first blood in the third inning. Rhett McCall reached on an error with two outs and then reached second on the throw, and George brought McCall home on an RBI single to left field. George then stole his way into scoring position but was stranded there on a strikeout. After three innings Lamar led 1-0.

Neither team put up a run in the fourth inning, and Lamar jumped a bit more ahead in the fifth. Reese Durand drew a one-out walk and came home on an RBI triple by Kelby Weyler, the first of Weyler's three hits on the day. A fielder's choice struck down Weyler at home but put McCall on first, and George reached base again after being beaned on a 2-0 ball. A walk of Girouard loaded the bases, but a strikeout stranded all three runners. After five innings Lamar held a 2-0 lead over Rhode Island.

A lead-off single for Rhode Island in the sixth reached second base on a five-pitch walk, and another walk loaded the bases. JC Correa fielded a line drive and tagged the runner before throwing to first in the next at-bat, but it was ruled that the URI runner beat the throw to first. A Ram scored on the fielder's choice, and a strikeout froze the runners on the corners. Unfortunately URI had a bit more offense left, and a two-out single to left brought home another Ram before a popup ended the threat. Lamar went down in order in the bottom half of the inning, and after six the game was tied at 2-2.

With two outs in the seventh Rhode Island took the lead for good. On a 2-2 count the URI batter was hit by a Cardinal pitch, and the next Ram placed the hit batter on third with a single to center. Another single scored one Ram and put runners on the corners, and a passed ball brought home the final run of the game. Heading into the bottom half of the seventh, URI led 4-2.

Durand opened the frame with a single to right and reached second on a Weyler single through the left side. A sac bunt from McCall put runners on second and third, and a walk of George loaded the bases with one out. A tough call on a strikeout and a bad hop on a bunt kept Lamar off the board in the seventh, stranding Durand, Weyler, and George. After seven Rhode Island led Lamar 4-2.

Lamar's final chance came in the ninth inning. Weyler led off with a single up the middle but expired on a fielder's choice from George. A strikeout ended the inning, and Rhode Island escaped Beaumont with a 4-2 win in the finale.

The Cardinals will head to Austin on Wednesday morning to play at #22 Texas with first pitch set for 4 p.m. Big Red will then continue its road trip with a three-game series at Texas State Feb. 21-23.

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