‘Good’ but ‘not great’ season ends for Cards

Published 7:55 pm Thursday, May 25, 2017

Lamar sports information

SUGAR LAND – Lamar pitching’s inability to keep Houston Baptist off the board in five of the first six innings ended the Cardinal baseball team’s season with a 8-5 loss in an elimination game at the Southland Conference Tournament on Thursday afternoon.

Houston Baptist (27-24) scored one run in the first inning, two in the third, one in each the fourth and fifth innings, and the back breaker was a three-run sixth inning.

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The loss ended the Cardinals season at 33-25, which gave Will Davis the second-most wins for a Lamar head coach in his first year.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better group of seniors, a better group of men as a first-year head coach,” said Davis. “It was a lot of fun. It was fun being with all the guys and fun making the decisions as a head coach. From here, we really want to start building something.

“Getting to the conference tournament means you had a good season, but it’s not a great season until you hear your name called on the Monday after the tournament,” he said. “That is where we want to be.”

To start the top of the sixth inning, Jack Fitzgerald reached with a leadoff walk. Zane Otten squared around and laid a bunt down the third base line, but an errant throw from Chad Fleischman allowed Fitzgerald to move up to third base. Brandon Brintz singled home Fitzgerald through the right side, and Spencer Halloran followed with a single to push across Otten. Brintz scored the third run of the inning on a wild pitch.

The Huskies jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead in the first inning on back-to-back base hits from Brintz and Halloran – Brintz’s was a double to left field. The Cardinals quickly responded with two of their own in the bottom of the first. Grant DeVore led off the frame with a walk and Reid Russell chased him to third base with a double that banged off the left field wall.

With two runners in scoring position and no outs, Robin Adames provided a productive out with a ground out that allowed DeVore to score. Cleanup man Bryndan Arredondo followed with a deep fly ball to right field that Brintz dropped. Arredondo was awarded with a sacrifice and run batted in.

HBU rallied with four combined runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings to get a 5-2 lead, but Lamar tried to respond in the bottom of the fifth and fell just short. Vincent Dellocono reached with a one-out single to left, and was followed by back-to-back singles from DeVore and Russell. Russell’s RBI drove in Dellocono and moved DeVore to third base. Adames notched his second RBI of the contest with a fielder’s choice to the second baseman.

Jimmy Johnson (6-6) wore the loss. The senior worked just 3 2/3 innings and allowed four runs on seven hits and a walk. Galen Andrews took over in the fourth inning and surrendered three runs on two hits and two walks. Tanner Driskill finished the game for LU and gave up one run in four innings of work. He allowed three hits and struck out four.

Christian Thames fell just short of notching the win with 4 2/3 innings. He gave up four runs on five hits and walked three. Southland Relief Pitcher of the Year J.T. Newton relieved him and finished the game with 4 1/3 innings. He surrendered a run – unearned – with two walks and three hits.

Lamar tallied eight hits in its season finale, led by two each from Russell and DeVore. DeVore was 2-for-3 with two runs scored, and Russell was 2-of-5 with one run scored and one batted in. Adames – who left early due to an injury – finished with a team-high two RBIs.

Halloran led HBU with a perfect 5-for-5 day, and had a run scored with two RBI. Brintz was 3-for-5 with three runs and two RBI.

The Cardinals said goodbye to 12 seniors, including All-Southland Conference players in Bryndan Arredondo, Reid Russell, Cutter McDowell and Trey Silvers.  Also competing in their final game as Cardinals were: Johnson, Andrews, Brendan Satran, Brent Janak, Brett Brown, Ryan Cawthon, Vincent Dellocono, and Chaneng Varela.