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BASEBALL: Lamar’s comeback short at Texas A&M

Lamar sports information

COLLEGE STATION — Lamar (9-15) hung with No. 11 Texas A&M (22-5) through most of Tuesday’s mid-week matchup at Blue Bell Park, outhitting the Aggies 6-3 through the first three innings. Jorge Gutierrez homered in his return to Aggieland to pull Lamar within two runs, and a four-run rally in the ninth came up just short as Big Red fell 10-7.

“We had some great at-bats all game,” said head coach Will Davis. “To see us have a four-run rally on an All-SEC closer like Kasey Kalich was really good to see. When you’re facing arms like that and have a game like this it’s really encouraging. In the end we just couldn’t slow down the offense of an Omaha-caliber team.”

Though Lamar opened the game by loading the bases with no outs, a strikeout and a stellar double play from the Aggies kept Lamar from converting runs. Texas A&M drew first blood when a leadoff walk reached third on a single and scored on a sac fly. The Aggies led 1-0 through the first inning.

Walks of Gutierrez and LeJeune converted helped Lamar answer A&M’s first run in the top of the second. Avery George collected his second hit of the day and his fifth RBI of the year when he singled through the left side with two outs. Gutierrez danced around the throw to home to score LU’s tying run. Texas A&M failed to respond in the bottom of the inning and through two innings the game was tied 1-1.

It appeared LU would take the lead in the third inning when JC Correa singled with one out. Logan Berlof smoked a double into center field and it appeared it would give Correa time to come home, but a relay throw from center to second to home barely beat the junior from Santa Isabel, Puerto Rico, to home plate, ending the inning. Texas A&M broke the tie in the bottom of the third with a solo homer, leading 2-1.

A three-hit, two-run fourth and a one-hit, one-run fifth inning put Texas A&M in front by four, 5-1, before Lamar was able to answer again. Berlof collected his second hit of the day, a single to left, in an eight-pitch at-bat and watched Gutierrez work a 3-1 count before the junior transfer from Alvin Community College and Texas A&M smashed the laces off a ball to pull LU within two, 5-3. Anthony Quirion singled with two outs but was stranded on a deep fly ball, and the Cardinals headed into the bottom of the inning down by two, 5-3.

Texas A&M’s offensive firepower became evident in the bottom of the sixth. Four consecutive hits and a 3-1 grounder scored four runs for the Aggies in the bottom of the inning. Texas A&M led 9-3 through six innings. The Aggies added one more in the eighth on two hits to put the game at 10-3.

The Cardinals’ biggest inning came in the top of the ninth against Texas A&M’s ace reliever. Logan LeJeune reached on a leadoff error and advanced to second on defensive indifference. A single from pinch-hitting Rhett McCall put LeJeune on third, and a walk of George loaded the bases with no outs. A pinch-hit single from Chase Kemp scored one and a single from Robin Adames with two outs scored two more.

Berlof capped his 3-for-5 day with an RBI single after Adames, scoring the final Cardinal run. With the tying run at the plate a strikeout ended the game, 10-7, in favor of Texas A&M.

The Cardinals return to action on Friday with the first of three Southland home games against Nicholls State. After the three-game conference series the Cards will have two more home games to open April, Houston (April 2) and Houston Baptist (April 3).