The Port Arthur News
SUGAR LAND —
SUGAR LAND — After staving off elimination in three consecutive games at the Southland Tournament, the Lamar baseball team couldn’t quite keep the magic going as Southeastern Louisiana rebounded from a 12-2 loss to the Cardinals on Friday night to win 7-2 on Saturday afternoon at Constellation Field.
“We had a great tournament,” head coach Jim Gilligan said. “This team just makes me proud because our seniors came out and proved everybody wrong after last season. They came back and gave it their all. I hope they learned some lessons here because they’re all going to be successful. They’re good students, great kids, and they played their hearts out for us.”
The loss brought LU’s season record to 39-20 and sent the Cards home from the conference’s premier event. SLU improved to 36-23 on the year and advanced to the conference championship game. Central Arkanas eliminated Oral Roberts, 11-3, in Saturday morning’s other semifinal.
A pair of big innings turned the game in favor of the Lions in the sixth and seventh. After Hunter Perry turned in a strong opening five frames, he allowed a pair of base-runners before being replaced by J.T. Autrey on the mound.
On the day, Perry gave up seven hits and four runs (two earned), and dropped to 0-2 for the season.
“I had Perry penciled in for three or four innings this week, and he gave me 10.2,” Gilligan said. “After doing well earlier against Southeastern, he was trying to do something extraordinary twice. I’m proud of him. The same goes for Chase Angelle, Lance Warren, and Dziedzic. We’re out of gas, and I wish we would’ve won. Southeastern is a real good ball club, and they deserve to go on.”
Aaron Haag laid down a bunt single to score the go-ahead in the sixth, and then Alex Marse was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Ladd Rhodes earned a walk to double the advantage and chase Autrey from the game. Travis Moore came in and surrendered a sacrifice fly to allow Ben Hernandez to score before a inducing a flyout to quell the damage.
A Jesse Buratt double and Marse single brought two more home an inning later to push the advantage out to five at 7-2.
The Cards got on board first in the second inning. Garret Autrey earned a one-out walk, and moved to third on a V.J. Bunner single to right field. Jude Vidrine hit into a double play in the ensuing at bat, but Autrey was able to score before the final out was recorded.
SLU evened up the game on a two-out passed ball in the ensuing half-inning.
Lamar re-took the lead in the fifth when Vidrine earned a two-out walk and later scored on a Sam Bumpers single to left field. However, it proved to be brief as a ball went just off the glove of a diving Bumpers behind second base in the ensuing frame, allowing Rhodes to cross home plate to bring the game even once more.
Bumpers ended the day 2-for-4 with a run batted in, and the trio of Darian Johnson, V.J. Bunner and Zach Luevanos combined for three hits as the Cards were out-performed in the category 11-5.