Not Lamar’s day: McNeese sends LU to losers’ bracket with timely hits

Published 8:36 pm Wednesday, May 24, 2017

SUGAR LAND — In this city, life hasn’t been very sweet for Lamar in recent memory.

Dustin Duhon and Austin Nelson homered off Carson Lance in the first two innings, and regular-season champion McNeese State handed Lamar its sixth straight Southland Conference tournament loss Wednesday, winning 7-5 at Constellation Field.

Lamar will go for its first Southland tournament victory since 2013 on Thursday against the Houston Baptist/Central Arkansas loser. First pitch is scheduled for noon.

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Lance (7-7) settled after the rough start to strike out three in a row in the third inning, but gave up three more runs on three hits before leaving with one out in the sixth inning. The Cowboys (37-18) tagged him for six earned runs on eight hits, but Lance struck out seven while walking seven.

“I just kept going out there, doing what I do,” the junior transfer from nearby Katy said. “[Pitching coach Kyle] Green helped me out in the dugout, and it just kept coming together. I just kept battling out there.”

Robin Adames’ 3-for-4 game supplied three runs for the eighth and last-seeded Cardinals (33-24). Each of his hits was a one-run single.

But after a two-run fifth pulled Lamar within 4-3, McNeese came back with two runs in the sixth on a Ricky Ramirez single. That hit came shortly after Lamar coach Will Davis contested a balk call against Lance that was eventually overturned after the umpires deliberated for about 3 minutes.

McNeese State has beaten Lamar for the third time in four games. The Cowboys were more dominant in their two wins during the teams’ regular season-ending series in Lake Charles, winning 10-2 and 16-6 with Lamar’s 4-1 win sandwiched.

“I’m not going to bash them; they’re good,” Lance said of McNeese. “But I could have definitely done better against them.”

It could have been a bigger outburst as the Cowboys left 11 on base, but nine Cardinals were stranded.

“I would say you can’t walk eight guys and hit two and still win the game, but they walked nine,” Davis said. “We were kind of right there in free passes. Unfortunately, they got some big hits and we never did. We never got that knockout blow that could have drove in two or three and got us back in the game.”

Adames connected on a full-count pitch with two outs in the third to cut McNeese’s lead to 2-1. McNeese added two runs in the fourth thanks to a Robbie Podarsky single and Matt Gallier bases-loaded walk.

Phil Ingram led off the Lamar sixth with a double and came home on an error at second base on Grant Devore’s at-bat. Reid Russell and Adames made back-to-back singles, bringing Lamar to within 4-3.

Nine-hole hitter Will Fox, who went 3 for 3 to lead the Cowboys. He singled in the seventh and came across the plate on a Podarsky single.

Trey Silvers walked in the eighth to force Russell home. In the ninth, Adames slapped a single up the middle for Vincent Dellocono’s second run, but Collin Kober struck out the last two to finish off the Cards.

“I’m really happy with the way we competed,” Davis said. “We never gave up. That eighth and ninth inning, we never got split a gap. We never found outfield grass to get that thing back tied up.”

Russell went 2 for 3, and Devore had a hit for Lamar. Podorsky and Ramirez each lined two hits, with Joe Provenzano and Mitchell Rogers each adding one for McNeese.



Three of the six pitchers combined are graduates of Nederland and West Orange-Stark high schools.

Grant Anderson, a 2015 WOS alumnus, earned the win but gave up an earned run on two hits and walked four in 2 2/3 innings. Trent Fontenot, a 2012 Nederland product, took over for Anderson in the eighth and allowed an earned run on one hit in 1 1/3 innings. Fontenot struck out one, but allowed two baserunners with one out in the ninth.

Collin Kober got the save with the last two strikeouts. Starter Austin Sanders gave up three earned runs on four hits and fanned three in 4 1/3.

Senior Brett Brown, a classmate of Fontenot’s, worked 2 2/3 for Lamar, allowing an earned run on three hits and striking out two.

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.

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