Love pitches Lamar to series win

Published 11:18 pm Friday, March 25, 2016

Lamar sports information
BEAUMONT – The offense gave starter Billy Love a 4-0 lead after one inning, and from there the senior settled in and threw a complete game and led the Lamar University baseball team to a 5-1 win over New Orleans Friday night. The win locked a series win in a three-game Southland Conference tilt at Vincent-Beck Stadium.
The right-handed Love recorded his first complete game as a Cardinal (15-7, 6-2 Southland Conference) with just six hits allowed and two walks. He surrendered back-to-back hits in the seventh inning that allowed Kyle Bracey to cross for UNO’s (16-7, 4-4) lone run.
“He did a great job. He wanted that last inning,” said head coach Jim Gilligan. “I had somebody ready to go if needed, but he looked so good in the eighth that I knew I had to run him back out there. That pretty much leaves us loaded up for tomorrow.”
Lamar goes for its first Southland Conference sweep since it got the Privateers last season at their park.
“Billy was one misplay away from a shutout, and that would’ve been real nice,” said Gilligan. “It was great to see that out of him tonight.”
Bracey pushed a one-out single up the middle in the sixth, which forced first baseman Jake Nash to hold him at the bag. As he was getting into a defensive position with the pitch in the air he slipped and Sam Capielano lined one just over his outstretched glove. The ball rolled into right field territory to put runners on second and third.
Preston Marsh came to the plate and sent a fly ball to centerfielder Brendan Satran, who caught the ball and made a strong throw to the plate but a collision at the plate helped the ball scoot through.
Love faced the minimum in five innings, two of those on double plays. He walked the first batter he faced on four pitches, but forced Aaron Palmer into a 6-3 double play. The exact same double play erased a single in the fourth inning.
The offense got off the ground early with four runs in the opening inning. Stijn van der Meer, who pushed his hitting streak to 12 with a double in the seventh, reached no a two-base throwing error from third baseman Dakota Dean. UNO starter Ryan Hodge was able to sit down the next two batters, but three singles and two walks in the next five batters lifted LU to a 4-0 lead.
Reid Russell singled through the left side with van der Meer at third for an RBI, which extended his team-high hit streak to 14. Cutter McDowell drew a full-count walk to put two on when Robin Adames singled up the middle and scored Russell. Jacoby Middleton loaded the bases with a walk, and Chaneng Varela scored two with single to left.
From there, Hodge and Love both threw up zeros until UNO punched through in the seventh.
“(UNO’s) pitcher did a great job of keeping himself in the ball game,” said Gilligan. “I wasn’t real comfortable with a four-run lead, especially with the way they can hit.”
The Cardinals added an extra insurance run in the eighth inning that got started with Adames’ single through the left side. Gavin Tristan pinch ran for him and picked off two bases almost immediately. He was able to score on a passed ball.
Hodge (3-1) went six inning and suffered the loss on four runs, none earned, on four walks and four walks. Ryan Leone relieved him in the seventh and pitched two frames with a run (unearned) on a hit and walk.
Adames finished the day 2-of-4 with a run and RBI, his sixth multi-hit game of the year. Bracey also went 2-for-4 for New Orleans with a run scored.
Jayson McKinley, who lost his father early Friday morning, will pitch Saturday for LU. He comes it with a 1-0 record and 2.45 earned run average.
“It is going to be an emotional game for us (Sunday),” said Gilligan. “I told him to stay home and he told me that his whole family was coming to the game because that is what his father would’ve wanted. He is a heck of a kid.”
For New Orleans, Friday’s loss gave it the first series loss of the season. They will pitch Jordan Priddle, who has 1-2 record and 7.54 ERA.

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