BEAUMONT — When the first pitch crossed the plate at 2:01 p.m. on Saturday afternoon at Vincent-Beck Stadium, it’s unlikely that many expected what would turn into one of the all-time great pitching duels in Southland Conference history as the Lamar baseball team picked up a 1-0 victory in the 18th inning over rival McNeese State.
Momentum carried in each team’s direction on a number of occasions, but Jonathan Dziedzic and Travis Moore were able to weather the storm, holding a McNeese team that scored nine runs a night ago to just six hits and a pair of walks. Dziedzic picked up his third double-digit strikeout performance of the season, fanning 12 in 10 innings of work, and Moore, a freshman out of Pearland, struck out 10 more en route to his first career victory.
“What a ball game, and I think it was the best-pitched game that we’ve ever had,” head coach Jim Gilligan said. “It doesn’t get much better. I mean, 22 strikeouts from both guys, and they both should get credit for the win on that one. McNeese was just as good. Really, it took an error to help set up the win. It was just an unbelievable game.”
“We were playing desperate,” Moore explained. “We were going to do whatever it took to go out and get our first conference victory, whether it was nine innings or 18 innings. I just wanted to come in and throw strikes and let my defense work, and we got it done.”
The Cardinals (20-5, 1-1 SLC) were finally able to cash in on the jaw-dropping performance from the duo in the bottom of the 18th. Darian Johnson got it started with a one-out double to left center. An error by McNeese second baseman Phillip Lebleu and a walk loaded the bases for Aaron Olivas. The senior third baseman made it count, looping the ball over the outstretched arm of first baseman Chayse Marion to bring the nearly four-hour game to a close.