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Confident Cardinals welcome UTRGV to Beaumont

Lamar enters weekend series with Vaqueros one game out of first place

BEAUMONT, Texas — It's getting down to crunch time in the 2022 baseball season. When Lamar University steps on the field Friday to open a three-game series against UT Rio Grande Valley, it will be one of just three remaining conference series left on the schedule. In fact, the Cardinals only have one more non-conference game left in the 2022 regular season.

The reason this is important is because the Cardinals (28-17/13-8 WAC) are in the midst of a dogfight in the WAC Southwest Division and still have a shot at a WAC regular-season title. After taking 2-of-3 from division leaders Sam Houston (and 4-of-6 in the season series) last week in Huntsville, the Cardinals enter the week just a game back of SHSU for the division lead, and only four back of Grand Canyon for the outright lead.

While the Cardinals head into the weekend matchup riding a bit of a hot streak – winners in six of their previous eight games – they will be facing another team (UTRGV) who will also have something to say about how the Southwest Division breaks down. The Vaqueros (27-19/12-9 WAC) arrive in the Golden Triangle just a game back of LU in the standings. UTRGV has won four of their last five games – a stretch that includes a series sweep of Stephen F. Austin and a 12-1 thumping of UTSA.

Big Red knows all to well just how tough the Vaqueros are. Earlier this season, the Cardinals tripped to Edinburg winning the series opener in thrilling fashion, only to have the Vaqueros rally to win the final two games. That was the first series setback for the Cardinals this season and remains one of only two for the Red and White on the year.

In addition to playing for a divisional title, the Cardinals' magic number to qualify for the WAC Championships is down to three. Any combination of three LU wins or Stephen F. Austin losses would clinch a spot in the postseason for Big Red.

The overall series history has been one that has favored LU, especially in games played in Beaumont. The Cardinals lead the all-time series, 73-50 (.593) but that number jumps to 44-20 (.688) all-time in Beaumont. The series, which started back in 1967, has seen the two schools split the last four meetings, with the Vaqueros holding a 10-5 (.667) record in the last three meetings.

The weekend series kicks off with game one Friday beginning at 6 p.m. from Vincent-Beck Stadium. LU head men's tennis coach Scott Shankles will be on hand to throw out the ceremonial first pitch Friday, after guiding his squad to the 2022 WAC regular-season title. Prior to Saturday's game LU will be honoring former player and skipper, Jim Gilligan and players David Bernsen and Kevin Millar in a special on-field recognition.