Big weekend on tap for Cardinals

Published 10:31 pm Thursday, May 5, 2016

Lamar sports information
BEAUMONT – A big weekend looms for the Lamar baseball team. The Cardinals look to use their loss to Rice Wednesday night to help them through their big matchup with Southland Conference leader Southeastern Louisiana, starting Friday night at 6 p.m. at Vincent-Beck Stadium.
Lamar (31-12, 16-5 Southland Conference) sits two games back of the Lions (32-13, 18-3) in the SLC standings, with Sam Houston State- which LU faces next weekend- sitting between the two. Saturday’s game is slated for 2 o’clock and Sunday’s contest is schedule for 1 p.m.
The series sits in the midst of an eight-game stretch that will be crucial to the Cardinals’ at-large and championships hopes. It started with No. 14 Rice Wednesday night, but Lamar fell in that one 7-2. Rice pitching had a big part of that loss.
“Hopefully (Rice) will pay some dividends in the series,” said head coach Jim Gilligan. “We have two playoff series coming up. The first one is real important because we’re playing the first place team. “
SLU has similar pitching numbers to Rice this season, holding a team earned run average of 2.45, and all three of the Lion starters for the weekend have a 2.06 mark or better.
“We did not adjust to Rice pitching early enough,” said Gilligan. “That was a valuable lesson heading into the Southeastern series. They will bring a tough staff in.”
LU’s right-hander Will Hibbs (9-1, 1.89 ERA), who was picked as the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Pitcher of the Month for April, will match up against lefty Kyle Cedotal (4-4, 2.06). Hibbs has won all seven of his last starts. He’s started 11 games on the year with 76 innings of work and 77 strikeouts. Cedotal has 78 2/3 innings of work with just 18 earned runs allowed and 71 strikeouts.
Hibbs ranks second in the league in ERA and strikeouts.
Saturday will feature right-handers Billy Love (5-2, 2.48) and Mac Sceroler (8-2, 2.00). Love has started to find his stride on the mound after back-to-back solid performances. He worked eight innings with one run allowed at Incarnate Word, one starter after a two-hit, complete-game shutout at Houston Baptist.
He has worked 61 2/3 innings with only 17 earned runs allowed and 45 strikeouts. Sceroler, who is undefeated in conference play, has 63 innings on the season with 68 strikeouts.
Lamar hasn’t announced a starter for the finale, but Southeastern Louisiana will hurl Domenick Carlini (5-1, 2.01). He’s worked two complete games this season and has 67 innings of work with 45 strikeouts.
Both pitching staffs rank in the top three of the league’s best ERAs. SLU’s ERA has them in the top spot, and LU’s 3.51 average has them third, behind Northwestern State at 3.20. Both offenses rank at the top of the league as well, and both are the only teams in the conference that have more than 40 team home runs- led by the Cardinals 44 long balls. Lamar sits third in the league with a .297 batting average, just ahead of SLU’s .294 mark.
The Lions are led by Jameson Fisher, who has a league-high .444 hitting average. He and LU’s Reid Russell are tied for the SLC top RBI mark (52). Fisher has 10 homers on the season and 41 runs scored. Drew Avans has a .339 average and is followed by Carson Crites (.336).

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