Rock on, Jim! Lamar, Southland fete Gilligan before rain pours

Published 10:25 pm Saturday, May 14, 2016

BEAUMONT — Lamar athletic director Jason Henderson said that longtime baseball coach Jim Gilligan did not want a plaque for his upcoming retirement.

So, Henderson did one better: He gave Gilligan a rocking chair made out of baseball bat wood, with bats making up its arms and legs.

That was just one highlight of Gilligan’s retirement ceremony before the start of Saturday’s game between Lamar and Sam Houston State.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Lamar also retired Gilligan’s jersey No. 29, which is posted underneath the NCAA logo on the right-field corner wall. And Southland Conference commissioner Tom Burnett was on hand to announce that the regular-season baseball championship trophy would be named in Gilligan’s honor.

So far, it’s Southeastern Louisiana’s trophy to lose. The Lions were upset Friday in extra innings by New Orleans but still led Sam Houston State by two games going into Saturday. Lamar, which beat SHSU 9-8 on Friday, is four games behind SELA.

And it won’t be until Sunday when it’s determined whether Lamar can gain an extra game or two on SHSU, because rain and several thunder strikes interrupted the action. The game will resume at 11 a.m. with the visiting Bearkats leading 7-3 with two outs in the Cardinals’ half of the fourth inning.

The Bearkats rained on Gilligan’s parade before the rain literally did, tallying six runs in the third inning to lead by as much as 7-1.

SHSU laced seven hits in that frame, chasing Lamar starter Billy Love after two outs. The senior allowed seven earned runs on nine hits and struck out two.

The Bearkats led 5-0 through the first two innings Friday before losing.

Cutter McDowell of Lamar drove in Saturday’s first run on a first-inning double. SHSU tied it in the second when Andrew Fregia, who led off with a triple, scored on a Robie Rojas double. Rojas is currently 2 for 2 in the game and 5 for 7 in the series.

Ten Bearkats batted in the third. Zach Smith drove in two runs on a single, Rojas batted in another, Jaxxon Grisham slapped a two-run double and Taylor Beene knocked in one on a double.

McDowell, who’s 2 for 2 in the game and 4 for 6 against SHSU, led off the Lamar third with a triple and plated a run on Reid Russell’s single. Trey Silvers (2 for 2 and 4 for 5), who was one of the heroes of Friday’s victory, added a run on his single.

Bearkats starter Riley Gossett is still on the mound. He’s given up three earned runs on six hits.

Sunday also is Senior Day and the Cardinals’ last home games of the season. They will wrap up the regular season next weekend at Stephen F. Austin.

I.C. Murrell: 721-2435. Twitter: @ICMurrellPANews

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.

email author More by I.C.