MESA, Arizona — The best season for Lamar University baseball since 2013 came to an end Friday afternoon with a 9-4 setback to Abilene Christian at Hohokam Stadium in Mesa, Ariz. The loss puts an end to a year that saw LU post a 37-21 record, and just miss a WAC Divisional title by one game with a 20-10 conference record.
Big Red jumped out to a 3-0 lead, but ACU answered with nine-straight runs before the Cardinals could get back on the board. The Cardinals made the most of their four hits scoring four runs with two errors, while ACU plated nine runs on 10 hits with an error.
Matthew McDonald, Josh Blankenship, Kirkland Banks and Reese Durand each recorded a hit on the day, with Blankenship and Durand each driving in two.
Senior Joe Buckendorff got the start and went 3.1 innings for the Cardinals allowing three earned runs on three hits with four strikes. When Buckendorff exited the game in the fourth inning he left with a one run lead but a four-run fourth and seventh from the Wildcats was too much for the Red and White to overcome.
The Cardinals wasted little time Friday getting the scoring started. With two outs and runners at the corner, Blankenship took an 0-2 pitch deep to right center getting it just beyond the outstretched arm of the right fielder. The hit scored both runners as Blankenship went racing into the third with his second triple of the season. Classmate Reese Durand made it a 3-0 lead for the Cardinals in the second inning when he led off the inning with a no doubter to right field for his third blast of the season.
ACU managed to get one back in their half of the second inning but the result could’ve been worse. The Wildcats had the bases loaded with no outs but Buckendorff worked his way out of traffic with two strikeouts. Unfortunately, the Wildcats’ lone run of the inning came off one of the strikeouts as the pitch got away from the catcher.
The score remained 3-1 until the bottom of the fourth when the Wildcats struck for four runs on three hits and took advantage of an LU error to claim their first lead of the game, 5-3. ACU made it a six-run lead with four more runs in their half of the seventh.
The Cardinals managed to get one-run back on a sacrifice fly to score Deric LaMontagne who led off the ninth by reaching on an error and advancing to third on two wild pitches.