BASEBALL: Four-run eighth gives Cardinals series over Cowboys

Published 11:30 pm Friday, May 18, 2018

Lamar sports information

BEAUMONT – Leading early but tied with their archrivals late in the game, Lamar (18-36, 12-17 Southland) overcame adversity Friday night with a four-run, eighth-inning rally to take down McNeese State (25-30, 15-14 Southland) 6-2 in the second of three Southland Conference games between the two schools. The win secures a series win for the Cards over the Cowboys for the first time since 2012.

“It really started with Noah Sills,” said head coach Will Davis. “He and Ryan Erickson did a great job tonight. We didn’t surrender any walks in a tight zone, and it was great to see them have such control tonight. Then our bats came up clutch when we needed them. It started with Cole Coker’s RBI single in the third, and Logan LeJeune’s RBI double in the eighth brought home the winning run. Chase Kemp, Grant DeVore, Chad McKinney, and Avery George did a great job to give us some breathing room at the end.”

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Despite an error in the sixth inning, Lamar had one of its best defensive performances of the season, turning four double plays against the Cowboys. That stellar defense kept McNeese off the board through the fourth inning and limited an offense averaging 5.4 runs per game to just two runs total.

While Sills and Erickson dealt fire from the mound and the Cardinal defense held, Lamar’s offense continued to push the pedal down with six runs on 10 hits Friday, bringing the series total to 18 runs on 30 hits through two games.

Big Red’s offense first got going in the third with two runs on two hits. Philip Ingram drew his 37th walk of the year with one out and advanced to second when Robin Adames was beaned in the wrist. With two Cardinals on base, Coker worked through four pitches before he found the one he wanted, singling through the right side to bring Ingram home. Adames came home just one pitch later when LeJeune singled through the left side, and the rally came to a close on a stellar 5-3 double play. After three innings Lamar led 2-0.

McNeese scored one run in the fifth off a lead-off double, a sac bunt, and a sac fly to put the score at 2-1 in favor of Lamar through five, and a lead-off runner reached for McNeese in the sixth on an error, a hit up the middle, and a hit to left field scored the unearned run to tie the game at 2-2 through six innings.

Neither team scored in the seventh, and LeJeune stepped up big in the bottom of the eighth. After Coker was walked in the first four pitches of Aidan Anderson’s relief appearance, LeJeune doubled Coker home on an 0-2 count. A sac bunt from Kemp put LeJeune in scoring position, and a single from DeVore brought LeJeune home. A double from McKinney put himself and DeVore in scoring position before George brought both home on a single just over the McNeese first baseman, giving Lamar a 6-2 lead.

Erickson sat down the Cowboys in order in the top of the ninth, ending the game on a dramatic swinging strikeout, and Lamar celebrated the series win with Friday fireworks.

The Cards will go for the series sweep and a chance at making the Southland Conference tournament today at 2 p.m. with a pre-game senior celebration of Ingram, DeVore, Mike Leal, McKinney, Ryan Johnson, Chad Fleischman, Jace Campbell, and Tanner Driskill. Lefty Jason Blanchard (0-6, 3.69 ERA) will face an as-of-yet unannounced Cowboy.