Lamar, UNO start SLC series

Published 10:00 pm Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Lamar sports information
BEAUMONT – It is still very early in the conference season, but with New Orleans coming in tied with the Lamar University baseball team for second place, this weekend’s Southland Conference contests could prove to be a battle for positioning. It all gets started Thursday at 6 p.m. when the Privateers and Cardinals open a three-game tilt in the third weekend of the league season.
The second game of the set is scheduled for Friday at 6 p.m. and the finale is slated for 1 p.m.Saturday afternoon. The games were moved up a day in observance of Easter Sunday.
Thursday’s game is a PINK OUT game in an effort raise funds and awareness breast cancer research. Fans are encouraged to wear pink in support. The Zeta Tau Alphas will be decorating Vincent-Beck Stadium entrance and selling homemade baked goods and t-shirts, all proceeds go to research. Saturday’s contest will have an Egg Hunt on the field with Big Red after, children must bring their own basket.
All games will be carried on the Big Red Sports Network with the voice of the Cardinals Harold Mann, who will carry Friday’s contest on Newstalk KLVI 560AM.
The Cardinals (13-7) and Privateeers (16-5) both come in with 4-2 Southland Conference records, which is good enough for a tie of second place, behind Southeastern Louisiana at 6-0. The series wraps up a seven-game home stand for the Cardinals, who will take on Texas Tuesday and Abilene Christian over the weekend.
As he has all season, Will Hibbs (3-1, 1.91 earned run average) will take the ball in the series opener and will face off Thursday against Shawn Semple (3-0, 3.26). Hibbs won his last outing on seven inning with two earned runs allowed and eight strikeouts.
Billy Love (0-1, 2.89) took over as the middle game pitcher, and he will take on Riley Hodge (3-0, 3.19) on Friday night. On Saturday, the Cardinals are expected to hand the ball to Jayson McKinley (1-0, 2.45), who will face off with LHP Jordan Priddle (1-2, 7.54).
Love worked six innings in a no-decision against Central Arkansas. He allowed only one earned run and stuck out seven. McKinley pitched the best game of his career in the series finale against the Bears, went seven inning with two runs and struck out 10.
The Privateers, who enter fresh off of an 8-2 win at home against South Alabama, are led in hitting by Dakota Dean, brother of head coach Blake Dean. Dean has a .390 batting average with 24 runs scored and 23 driven in. He along with Aaron Palmer, who has 25 runs, lead the Southland Conference in runs scored.
Kyle Bracey (.387), Jay Robinson (.370), Hezekiah Randolph (.347), Ryan Calloway (.326), Chaz Boyer (.321) and Preston Marsh (.314) all join Dean with .300-plus averages. As a team, the Privateers are hitting .322 with an 8.4 runs per game average, and their staff holds a 5.74 earned run average.
Bryndan Arredondo leads the Cardinals in hitting with a .400 average, followed by Reid Russell at .361, Stijn van der Meer at .329, Cutter McDowell at .305 and Robin Adames at .304. Both Russell and van der Meer are on double-digit hit streaks, and the Russell is on a five-game home run streak.
Russell ranks sixth in the country in home runs this season (8) and Jimmy Johnson, a closer, is tied for the nation’s lead in wins. Arredondo leads the team with 16 runs scored and Russell is tops in RBI with 21.
As a team, LU hits .288 with a 6.05 runs per game average, and the pitching staff has a 3.64 earned run average.
LU takes on Texas Tuesday at 6 p.m. at UFCU Disch Falk Field, and then heads to Abilene Christian for a non-conference series against a Southland Conference foe.
Tickets to the contest or any other home game can be purchased at or fans can visit or call the athletics ticket office in the Montagne Center at 409-880-1715. Five-Point Credit Union will be sponsoring a t-shirt giveaway, while supplies last. Gates will open at 5 p.m.

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