Cardinals ‘flat’ on mound; VDM’s string ends at 24

Published 7:14 pm Saturday, April 16, 2016

BEAUMONT — Billy Love started in his regular role as the Saturday starter for the Lamar Cardinals, but something wasn’t right in the eyes of coach Jim Gilligan.
Love did not get out of the fifth inning, and the Cardinals suffered a 5-4 loss to the McNeese State Cowboys at Vincent-Beck Stadium. Love (3-2) allowed five runs (four earned) on four hits with two walks and two strikeouts.
“It was obvious Billy didn’t have his stuff today,” Gilligan said. “He would be the first one to tell you that. We have to look to why on that. The excuses are there. We had an off day Monday and a travel day on Tuesday. I am not sure his preparation was there. He wasn’t the same guy he was last weekend down in Corpus [Christi].”
Love lasted 7 1/3 in a 5-1 Lamar win last Saturday at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. He only gave up one run on seven hits in that performance with six strikeouts.
“He didn’t have it today,” Gilligan said. “And then
Enrique [Oquendo] came in and didn’t throw as good when he first came in as he did when he settled in. Now I have to wonder if we are coming out of the bullpen ready to go. That is where it was lost.”
The Cardinals finished with six hits Saturday, and one glaring name missing from the column was that of shortstop Stijn van der Meer, who saw his 24-game hit streak snapped. Van der Meer also had his 32-game on-base streak end.
The Cowboys (21-12, 11-6 Southland) loaded the bases with one out in the top of the fifth with Lamar (26-9, 11-3) up 2-0.
Love walked a batter, gave up a single and hit a batter to put runners on every base.
The Cardinals were able to get a fielder’s choice on the next batter as Lamar first baseman Jake Nash grabbed a ball hit in the infield and he fired home for a force out.
McNeese chased Love out of the game with back-to-back singles that gave the Cowboys a 3-2 lead.
The Cowboys plated two more runs to take a 5-2 lead into the bottom of the fifth.
“Today, we were flat on the mound,” Gilligan added. “They [Cowboys] did a good job swinging the bats after coming off last night against [Will] Hibbs when they didn’t do anything.”
Hibbs allowed five hits and one run in Friday’s 5-1 Lamar win. He struck out 14 batters, and relief pitcher Fernando Martinez added another K in one inning of work.
“They [Cowboys] hit a lot of balls hard today and made some good adjustments,” Gilligan added.
Lamar center fielder Brendan Satran gave Lamar a 2-0 lead in the top of the second with a two-run single to score both Reid Russell and Jacoby Middleton. Russell was 3 for 4 with a RBI.
Lamar scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth to make the final 5-4 score. Russell singled to right to score first baseman Jake Nash. A couple of batters later, catcher Bryndan Arredondo scored on a Middleton groundout.
McNeese closer Collin Kober was almost unhittable in the final two innings for his sixth save of the season. He allowed one hit and one walk with one strikeout.
The two teams face off again at 1 p.m. Sunday. The starting pitchers for both teams have not been announced.

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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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