BASEBALL: Four walks cost Cardinals in series finale at SFA

Published 12:01 am Monday, May 14, 2018

Lamar sports information

NACOGDOCHES – In a close game in which Lamar (16-36, 10-17 Southland) had just taken a one-run lead in the top of the eighth, four walks were the difference in an eventual 4-2 loss to Stephen F. Austin (17-32, 9-18 Southland). The Sunday decision gave SFA a 2-1 series win over Big Red.

Lamar took full advantage of early miscues by the Lumberjacks. Avery George was beaned on the first pitch of the game and earned a free trip to first, then stole second during Cole Girouard‘s at-bat.

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George reached third on a deep fly ball from Girouard, and a walk of Philip Ingram put runners on the corners. Another wild pitch during Robin Adames‘ at-bat scored George, giving Lamar a 1-0 lead without a hit.

Blanchard sat down the Jacks in order in the bottom of the inning.

Neither team scored in the second, and SFA responded in the bottom of the third with a run of its own. With two outs the Jacks collected three consecutive singles to bring a runner home safely before Blanchard struck out the final batter of the inning, and through three it was tied 1-1.

The Cards got a significant chance to break the game open in the top of the fourth. Logan LeJeune was walked with one out and reached third on a single from Chase KempGrant DeVore was beaned on the next pitch to load the bases, but a double play ended the Cardinal threat.

Blanchard returned to his earlier dominance in the fourth and fifth innings, sitting down six batters in a row. The game remained tied through five innings at one run apiece.

Strong defense by both teams in the sixth kept the game tied at 1-1. Adames and Coker opened the top of the inning with back-to-back singles, though a fielder’s choice bunt from LeJeune struck down Adames at third. With two outs a walk of DeVore would’ve loaded the bases, but a lucky bounce on the pitch ended up beating Coker to home.

In the bottom of the sixth SFA worked runners onto first and second with no outs before a liner to first turned into a double play as Kemp beat the runner back to first. McKinney caught a runner trying to steal third for the final out of the inning, and the score remained 1-1 through six.

Lamar broke through on more defensive miscues in the top of the eighth. Ingram was walked and advanced to second on a single from Adames with no outs. A sac bunt from Coker advanced both, and a wild pitch scored Ingram to give LU a 2-1 lead. A strikeout and a liner to left ended the top of the inning.

A tricky strike zone spelled trouble for the Cardinals in the bottom of the inning. Ryan Erickson struck out the first batter he faced, then surrendered a single up the middle. Erickson struggled to find the strike zone with four consecutive walks that scored two Lumberjacks, and a sac fly off Chet Jones to centerfield scored a third before a pop-up ended the inning. SFA led 4-2 through eight in Nacogdoches and held on in the ninth to escape Jaycees Field with the victory.

Lamar will wrap up the 2018 regular season Thursday in the first of three games at home against McNeese State. Lamar is 11th in the Southland, three games behind New Orleans for the eighth and final seed in next week’s Southland tournament.