BEAUMONT – The Lamar baseball team will look to continue its recent Southland Conference success this weekend as the Cardinals hit the road for Natchitoches for a three-game set at Northwestern State.
The series should prove important in the Southland regular season race as four teams currently sit tied at the top with 8-4 records and four more teams are in fifth at 6-6. Lamar, who has taken two out of three from two league-leaders (Southeastern Louisiana and Sam Houston State), is 6-6 in SLC play and 27-11 overall. Northwestern State carries an 11-27 mark with a 2-10 conference record.
The offense has played a major role in the strong 2013 campaign for LU as the Cardinals currently lead the conference with a .299 batting average to go along with 81 doubles and 15 homers, which rank first and third in the league, respectively. With 159 walks, the Red and White are also second in on-base percentage at .384.
Darian Johnson is the engine of the LU offense, hitting .397 with a league-best 62 hits to go along with 30 runs batted in and 35 scores. The duo of Sam Bumpers and V.J. Bunner has also been outstanding, combining to hit .340 with 66 runs and 47 RBI. Jude Vidrine has also been strong, hitting .314 with SLC-best 39 scores.
On the mound, the Cards are led by Jonathan Dziedzic, the school’s all-time leader in strikeouts. The junior has experienced a memorable season this year as LU’s Friday night starter, fanning 69 in just 61.1 innings of work to go along with a 2.93 earned run average and .185 opponent batting average.
On Saturday, Eric Harrington, who sits atop the LU career list in innings pitched, will step to the mound with a 2.64 earned run average and three complete games. Both pitchers are 5-1 on the year.
David Carver (5-3, 3.97 ERA) will start on Sunday.