Cardinals Cut-ting it

Published 11:30 pm Saturday, March 19, 2016

BEAUMONT — The Lamar Cardinals had to make it interesting for coach Jim Gilligan.

Lamar saw a 6-3 lead against Central Arkansas vanish on a double, single and an error. The Cardinals needed an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth from Cutter McDowell to defeat the Bears, 7-6, on Saturday.

Lamar loaded the bases after Jake Nash walked and went to third on a single by catcher Bryndan Arredondo. The Bears (9-9, 3-2 Southland) then intentionally walked Reid Russell to bring up McDowell.

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McDowell let a breaking pitch fool him on the first pitch from Jacoby Murray. He then took a ball before hitting the 1-1 pitch down the left field line for the winning hit.

“I was able to get a pitch up in a hitter’s count and get the big hit,” McDowell said. “Knowing this team, we’re never down. After being down 8-0 to LSU and fighting back, we never count ourselves out.”

Arredondo was in the middle of an interesting play in the top of the ninth.

The Bears tied the game off Cardinals (12-7, 3-2) reliever Jimmy Johnson and had the go-ahead runner at third with Hunter Strong at the plate.

Strong singled to left and Russell came up firing to Lamar shortstop Stijn van der Meer, who threw home to Arredondo, who made the tag for the final out.

Strong was tossed from the game for not attempting to slide past Arredondo and is not eligible to play in today’s 1 p.m. contest at Vincent-Beck Stadium.

“[UCA] just scrapped and came back,” Gilligan said. “Stijn takes a great play up the middle and can’t finish it off, which tied it up. The go-ahead run we throw out at the plate. There was plenty of action in that inning.”

Billy Love was called up to pitch a day earlier than expected and did his part on the mound. Love pitched six innings and allowed one run on four hits with seven strikeouts and three walks.

“That was a big start from Billy Love,” Gilligan said. “We had a good bullpen and a good talk. He was his old self today. He pitched well and I was very proud of Billy’s outing.”

Nederland product Brett Brown came in for relief of Love in the seventh. Brown gave up two runs (one earned) on one hit with two walks and one strikeout.

UCA starter Cody Davenport lasted seven innings and allowed six runs on eight hits with five strikeouts and five walks.

Lamar opened the scoring in the second inning with three runs off Davenport.

Van der Meer picked up an RBI with a single before Nash drew a bases-loaded walk to bring home Chaneng Varela. Arredondo then hit a sacrifice fly to score Brendan Satran to make it 3-0.

Russell slammed his seventh homer of the season in the fifth, this one a two-run shot to make it 5-1. It is the fourth homer in as many games for Russell.

“Russell made a change that will take away some of the holes he had in his swing,” Gilligan said. “He is legit and people will start to get nervous at times when he comes up.”

McDowell drove in Lamar’s sixth run of the contest on a single to right in the bottom of the seventh.

Jayson McKinley is scheduled to start for the Cardinals today. McKinley is 0-0 on the season with a 2.42 ERA in four starts. He has struck out 17 and walked one batter.


About Gabriel Pruett

Gabriel Pruett has worked with both the Port Arthur News and Orange Leader since 2000. A majority of the time has been spent covering all aspects of Southeast Texas high school sports. Pruett's claim to fame is...being able to write his own biographical information for this website.

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