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BASEBALL: Cards even up series with Wildcats following 13-1 win

Lamar sports information

ABILENE — An offensive explosion and a dominant pitching performance carried Lamar (14-25, 6-14 Southland) to an impressive win Friday in its second game at Abilene Christian (20-18, 7-10 Southland). The Cardinals won 13-1 over the Wildcats.

“You can’t play much better than we did today,” said head coach Will Davis. “Jason Blanchard was unbelievable, the at-bats were great, and we are excited to have an opportunity to win the series tomorrow.”

Jason Blanchard threw 107 pitches in seven innings, tying his career-best with eight strikeouts. He allowed just three hits while walking two and his lone earned run came on a fly ball that rode the wind and turned into a solo homer. Kristjan Storrie threw just 15 pitches in two innings of relief, striking out one while allowing no hits or walks.

The scoring started in the first inning. Avery George and Cole Girouard were walked and advanced to second and third on a sac bunt from Cole Coker. A one-out single from JC Correa scored George before a double play ended the inning. The Wildcats responded with their lone run of the game, the solo homer, in the bottom of the inning to tie it at 1-1 through the first.

Logan Berlof was beaned after six pitches to lead off the second and reached second on a single from Anthony Quirion. Reese Durand loaded the bases on an error before George brought home Berlof on a sac fly. Lamar led 2-1 through two as Blanchard stranded a one-out walk.

Robin Adames earned his sixth homer of the year in the top of the third. He swung at the first pitch he saw and barely missed the scoreboard. Berlof singled in the next at-bat and reached second on a wild pitch before scoring on a single from Quirion. Lamar led 4-1 through three.

Two more runs scored in the fourth inning off singles from Rhett McCall and George, a 5-4 sac bunt from Girouard, an RBI grounder to second from Coker, and an error that allowed Correa to reach. Blanchard sat the Wildcats down in order in the bottom of the frame to keep LU out front 6-1.

The biggest inning came in the fifth. Berlof led off with a double down the left field line but couldn’t advance in the next two at-bats. McCall was hit by the first pitch he saw with two outs, and George singled and reached second on the throw as Berlof scored and McCall reached third. An error allowed Girouard to reach first and scored George and McCall, and a single from Coker put Girouard in scoring position. Coker stole second in Correa’s at-bat before Correa doubled Coker and Girouard home, and Adames singled to right to bring Correa home for the final run of the inning. Lamar led 12-1 through five.

The final run of the game scored in the top of the sixth. Berlof again led off with a double and then reached third on a wild pitch. A sac fly from Durand brought him home to put LU up 13-1, the final margin.

Blanchard and Storrie used just 22 pitches combined in the final three innings, facing just nine batters in the final frames of the game. Lamar threatened to score more in the seventh, eighth, and ninth, but couldn’t score again.

LHP Grason Wright (2-3, 3.58 ERA) is slated to face RHP Jonathan Nicholson (3-4, 5.74 ERA) on Saturday in the series finale. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. with the series win on the line.