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BASEBALL: Cardinals walk off on Berlof hit

Lamar sports information

BEAUMONT — In a weird and wonderful mid-week game, Lamar (8-12) edged out Southern (11-9) on a 6-5 walk-off win Tuesday.

The Cardinals struck out 13 batters and walked none, but the Jaguars managed to pounce ahead with a 5-0 lead before Big Red battled back with six straight runs.

“We played a great opponent today in Southern University,” said head coach Will Davis. “They led the Southwestern Athletic Conference right now and have quality wins this year including over Northwestern State, our defending conference champions. We knew we’d have our hands full and we did. Our pitching staff was unbelievable this entire game except for that inning with seven consecutive hits — the most I’ve ever seen before was eight in a row. Those seven hits came after we’d sat 13 of their batters in a row, and we then went back to dominating them the rest of the game. That was a strange one.”

The game was scoreless through six innings thanks to impeccable work from Jack Dallas, Douglas Palmer, and Dylan Johnson. The Cardinals allowed just three hits through the first six innings and had six strikeouts to no walks. Lamar also had just three hits through the first six innings due to tough pitching from the Jaguars’ staff, and it appeared the game would come down to just one or two runs of offense. That feeling proved true in the ninth, but not in a way any baseball fan would’ve expected.

After LU struck out the first batter in the top of the seventh Southern suddenly sprang to life. The Jags strung together seven consecutive hits to score five runs before Grason Wright stepped in. The redshirt sophomore from Warr Acres, Okla., allowed the final of the seven hits before a strikeout and a 4-3 grounder ended the inning.

Southern’s big inning seemed to spark an equally large inning from the Cardinals. Avery George stepped up to the plate with one out and his 18-game hit streak on the line. He took two pitches before lining one into left center, stretching that hit streak to 19 games and the reached-base streak to 30. He reached second on a bunt single from Cole Girouard and got to third on a walk of Cole Coker, and a single from JC Correa scored both George and Girouard.

Robin Adames wore one to re-load the bases and Logan Berlof earned his first RBI of the day with a double. Adames was struck down on the play but LU was within one run, 5-4. Cole Secrest earned the first successful pinch hit for LU this year with a single in the next at-bat, scoring Berlof and tying the game at 5-5.

Wright sat down the Jags in order in the eighth and was relieved by Austin Smith in the ninth. Smith worked three strikeouts around a one-out double.

Lamar came to the plate in the bottom of the inning and sent the Cardinal faithful home happy with a walk-off win. Correa reached on an error from the shortstop and advanced to second on a single from Adames. Berlof worked his way from an 0-2 count to a 3-2 count before finding the pitch he liked, lining a ball into the right center gap to score Correa. The Cards won 6-5 over Southern.

Lamar returns to action on Friday with the first of three games at Northwestern State, then conclude the road trip next week with a Tuesday non-conference game at Texas A&M. Nicholls will come to Vincent-Beck at the end of March and LU will host the University of Houston and Houston Baptist in the opening days of April before traveling to Sam Houston State.