That kind of series: Lions count on rallies again to claim series

Published 12:11 am Sunday, May 8, 2016

BEAUMONT — Southeastern Louisiana baseball players were right: Two-out rallies are killers. Lamar just couldn’t quite get the kill when it had the chance.

Lamar had five innings of leaving two men on base each, and SELA accounted for all of its runs in two-out situations in taking a 5-2 victory Saturday at Vincent-Beck Stadium.

SELA (34-13, 20-3 Southland) took a big Southland Conference series with the win, while Lamar (31-14, 16-7) dropped its season-high fourth straight.

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In all, 10 Cardinals were left on base. And the disappointment was written all over 39th-year coach Jim Gilligan’s face.

“You mean choking with people in scoring position? There you go,” Gilligan said. “Swinging and missing the same freaking pitches time and time and time again.”

They had 10 hits, but the Lions hammered 11.

Billy Love (5-3, 2.97 ERA) had a strong start through four innings, but similar to Will Hibbs’ struggles in Friday’s 14-6 SELA shellacking, the Lions wore him down in the fifth.

That’s when the Lions scored three runs — all with two outs — on five hits. They added two more runs in the sixth, and Gilligan finally sent Fernando Martinez in to relieve Love after Webb Bobo’s one-run triple.

After Martinez yielded a Chris Eades RBI hit, he settled down and retired his next 11 batters.

“He’s got to be one of my starters,” Gilligan said, stressing he’s still looking for quality pitching as the postseason approaches.

Martinez allowed no runs on two hits, walked none and struck out three. Love’s line was five earned runs on nine hits with two walks and two strikeouts through five innings plus two batters.

The Cardinals, needing a successful series to improve their chances for an NCAA regional at-large berth, got on the board first, as they did Friday night. Chaneng Varela, one of three Cards who went 2 for 4, singled and scored the first run on Stijn van der Meer’s single in the third. Jake Nash, another 2-for-4 batter, delivered the third straight hit, but he and van der Meer were stranded after a flyout.

Jacob Seward’s triple highlighted the onslaught of five straight Lion hits that resulted in the three-run outburst in the fifth. But Jacoby Middleton, who led off the Lamar side of the inning with a single, zoomed from first to score on a Varela double to cut into the deficit. Varela was thrown out at the plate for the second out on a fielder’s choice by van der Meer.

Mac Sceroler (9-2, 2.09) scattered nine hits over six innings, allowing the two earned runs and striking out five for the win. Kade Granier worked 2 2/3 innings and held Lamar to one hit for the save.

“These guys are good; these guys can pitch,” Gilligan said. “That makes it tough on you when you have guys throw as good as they do. … There comes a time in your career when you have to make an adjustment. We didn’t do it today.”

Add to that four diving catches at left field by Drew Avans, and it just wasn’t Lamar’s day.

“That left fielder put on a freaking circus act today, taking everything we hit,” Gilligan hit. “He took three doubles away from us, or two doubles and a single he took away from us, that I can remember. They’re very active defensively.”

Sam Roberson went 3 for 3 to lead SELA. Brennan Breaud and Derrick Mount each had two hits.

Trey Silvers was the other Cardinal to go 2 for 4.

Jimmy Johnson (7-2, 2.87) will start for Lamar against Domenick Carlini (5-1, 2.01) of SELA today. First pitch is set for 1 p.m.


The recently scheduled Lamar home game against Houston for Monday has been canceled, and it may be a welcome thing for both slumping teams, depending on how they fare today. A Lamar spokesman said Houston (25-19, 6-9 American as of Friday) simply called and asked to drop the game.

Houston, which beat Lamar 4-3 in Beaumont on March 15, is hosting Memphis in a three-game conference set. Memphis won the first game 12-4, handing the Cougars their third loss in four games.

Lions 5, Cardinals 2

SELA 000 032 000 — 5 11 1

Lamar 001 010 000 — 2 10 0

Mac Sceroler, Cliff Hurst (7), Kade Granier (7) and Chris Eades. Billy Love, Fernando Martinez (6) and Bryndan Arredondo. W — Sceroler (9-2). L — Love (5-3).

2B — SELA: Sam Roberson, Derrick Mount; Lamar: Trey Silvers, Chaneng Varela. 3B — SELA: Ryan Byers, Jacob Seward. HBP — SELA: Brennan Breaud. SB — SELA: Breaud, Drew Avans. CS — SELA: Roberson.

Time of game — 2:46. A — 643.

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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