Cardinals hammer Wildcats with four jacks

Published 9:35 pm Monday, February 22, 2016

BEAUMONT — Lamar can now start to focus on LSU … that is, after getting Arizona’s full attention.

Brendan Satran and Jacoby Middleton each launched a grand slam, and the red-hot Cardinals won their fourth straight to start the season, 13-5, over the Pac-12’s Wildcats on a slightly wet Monday night in Vincent-Beck Stadium.

That wasn’t all for Middleton. The senior, who was hitting .200 coming into the game, tattooed a two-run home run over right field in the sixth inning for his sixth RBI. He finished 3 for 5.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Reid Russell, who smashed a two-run shot in Lamar’s 5-2 Sunday win over Southeast Missouri State, got in on the home run act Monday with another two-run jack over left-center that same inning.

Lamar coach Jim Gilligan didn’t think it was ideal to welcome the traditional national power, which is four years removed from a national championship, on the back end of a season-opening series against Ohio Valley Conference champ SEMO, but didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to host a Pac-12 power. The Cards (4-0), who are off to their best start in three years, weren’t trying to make any excuses Monday.

And to think this team was picked to finish ninth in the Southland Conference.

Satran, a junior, was the hero in Saturday’s 2-1 win with a walk-off single in the 10th inning. Two days later, he gave the Cardinals a 4-2 lead in the second when he smacked a two-out, 1-1 pitch over left field for the first grand slam.

Not bad for hitting in the bottom of the order.

Satran’s swing finished the night for freshman Michael Flynn, who gave up three singles in the previous four at-bats. But it was so timely for the Cards.

Arizona (2-2), which had just taken a three-game series at Rice, put the Cardinals in a 2-0 hole in the second inning, tagging senior starter Joe Farley for two runs on two hits. After the left-hander retired the first two batters of the frame, he allowed a single for J.J. Matijevic and two walks before Cody Ramer — who hit .545 (6 of 11) coming into the game — directed a 1-2 single through the first-second base hole to drive in his fourth and fifth runs of the season.

That finished Farley’s night. Kyle Leggett came in to induce a flyout, preventing further damage.

Preseason All-American Bobby Dalbec laced a double to left to start a string of four straight hits for Arizona, resulting in a pair of runs to even the score at 4-4 in the third.

That score held until the Lamar fourth. Grand Prairie native and TCU transfer Robby Medel hit a batter, walked two and induced two outs before Middleton sent his grand slam almost over the “green monster” in center field. It easily cleared the 12-foot high yellow line, however.

All Arizona could muster from there was a run on a wild pitch.

Stijn van der Meer and Satran each had two hits, as Lamar finished with 12 to Arizona’s nine. Jared Oliva, Ramer and Matijevic each had two hits.

Lamar had last played Arizona in 1979. The Wildcats won that game 5-4 in Tucson and won the national championship with future major-league manager Terry Francona the next year.

For the Wildcats, Monday’s game was a short hop from Houston, where they nearly took a three-game sweep of Rice over the weekend.

Wednesday’s Lamar home game against LSU, which starts at 6 p.m., is sold out.

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

email author More by I.C.