Cards, Cowboys to meet again

Published 11:49 pm Monday, May 22, 2017

Lamar sports information

SUGAR LAND – For the first time in his tenure and the 17th overall as a program, first-year head coach Will Davis and the Lamar baseball team are heading to the Southland Conference Tournament when the eighth-seeded Cardinals open against the league champion McNeese State at 4 p.m.Wednesday afternoon.

The Cardinals (33-23, 16-14 Southland) are also in the same bracket as No. 4 Houston Baptist (26-23, 18-12) and No. 5 Central Arkansas (31-24, 17-13), who face each other at 7 p.m. Wednesday night.

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The Voice of the Cardinals Harold Mann will carry every Big Red game live on Newstalk KLVI 560AM. For the third-straight season, every pitch of the entire 2017 tournament will be broadcast on ESPN3, available at or on the WatchESPN app.

The Cardinals hold a 33-26 all-time record in the Southland Conference Tournament, and is on its quest for a fourth championship, most recently in 2010. It’ll only be the second time that LU is the eighth seed (2014) and it was eliminated after two games the first time. The league didn’t take eight teams until 2008.

Lamar only faced two of the three teams in its bracket, and finished with a 2-4 record against them. LU lost to Houston Baptist 2-1 in a three-game set at Vincent-Beck Stadium and fell 2-1 in a three-game set at McNeese in the last series of the season. Wednesday’s matchup will be the fourth-straight matchup between the two programs.

UCA and the Cardinals faced off four times last season, but the Bears won the biggest contest when they downed Big Red in the first round of the SLC Tournament last season. Lamar swept the regular season series.

The Cardinals’ first opponent will come with no surprises, after the two fought out a series in Lake Charles less than a week ago. As a team, the Cowboys have a league-leading .307 batting average and .474 slugging percentage. As a team, MSU has scored 396 runs (7.3 per game).

Offensive fireworks could be in order if the wind blows out as expected. Both LU and McNeese rank in the top three of the Southland Conference in runs scored, slugging, RBI and home runs.

Joe Provenzano and Shane Selman are tied atop the MSU leaderboard in average, both at .347, and are followed by Ricky Ramirez (.333), Matt Gallier (.323) and Robbie Podorsky (.320). Podorsky has scored 64 runs on the season and Ramirez follows with 59. Selman continues his lead in RBI at 57, and Provezano has 53 and Gallier 51.

On the hill, the Pokes have a 4.17 ERA across 471 innings. They’ve struck out 433 batters to just 222 walks, and have given up 218 earned runs.

Grant DeVore was a standout from the regular season series with five hits in nine at-bats (.556). He scored three runs and reached base on a .692 clip from the leadoff spot. Trey Silvers was 4-for-9 in the series and Bryndan Arredondo was 4-of-11 with three RBI and a home run – in the first game.

DeVore is third on the team in hitting with a .331 mark behind Robin Adames (.341) and Cutter McDowell (.367) – who is expected to be on the active roster. Arredondo is hitting .316 and Reid Russell is at .310. Russell has scored 49 runs on the season and is followed by McDowell’s 46 – despite missing the last 10 games. Adames tops the team with 51 RBIs on the season and Russell and Trey Silvers are tied with 10 home runs apiece.

Relievers Galen Andrews and Tanner Driskill were the heroes on the mound. Both helped Jace Campbell get a win as the starter in game two with a combined 3 2/3 scoreless innings. Andrews was hitless in 1 2/3 and Driskill struck out four in two innings.

The Cardinals will go with Carson Lance (7-6, 3.80 earned run average) Wednesday afternoon. He has pitched in 14 games, all starts, and worked more than 85 innings. He’s allowed 36 earned runs on 69 hits, and has struck out a team-best 78 batters. In his regular season start at MSU, he worked 5 1/3 innings with four earned runs allowed on seven hits and five walks.