LU baseball team wins longest game in program history
BEAUMONT – When the first pitch crossed the
plate at 2:01 p.m. on Saturday afternoon at Vincent-Beck Stadium, it’s unlikely
that many expected what would turn into one of the all-time great pitching
duels in Southland Conference history as the Lamar baseball team picked up a
1-0 victory in the 18th inning over rival McNeese State.
Momentum carried in each team’s
direction on a number of occasions, but Jonathan Dziedzic and Travis Moore were
able to weather the storm, holding a McNeese team that scored nine runs a night
ago to just six hits and a pair of walks. Dziedzic picked up his third
double-digit strikeout performance of the season, fanning 12 in 10 innings of
work, and Moore, a freshman out of Pearland, struck out 10 more en route to his
first career victory.
“What a ball game, and I think it
was the best-pitched game that we’ve ever had,” head coach Jim Gilligan said.
“It doesn’t get much better. I mean, 22 strikeouts from both guys, and they
both should get credit for the win on that one. McNeese was just as good.
Really, it took an error to help set up the win. It was just an unbelievable
“We were playing desperate,” Moore
explained. “We were going to do whatever it took to go out and get our first
conference victory, whether it was nine innings or 18 innings. I just wanted to
come in and throw strikes and let my defense work, and we got it done.”
The Cardinals (20-5, 1-1 SLC) were
finally able to cash in on the jaw-dropping performance from the duo in the
bottom of the 18th. Darian Johnson got it started with a one-out
double to left center. An error by McNeese second baseman Phillip Lebleu and a
walk loaded the bases for Aaron Olivas. The senior third baseman made it count,
looping the ball over the outstretched arm of first baseman Chayse Marion to
bring the nearly four-hour game to a close.
“Our pitching really held us in the
game, and getting that hit was just amazing,” Olivas said. “It got a little bit
frustrating, but we just had to stay focused and then it came through. I’m just
happy to be a part of it.”
Olivas finished the game 3-for-8 at
the plate. V.J. Bunner was the only other player to record multiple hits, going
2-for-8, and as a team, Lamar out-hit McNeese 9-6.
McNeese was stellar on the mound
with starter Blake Ware allowing three hits in 10.2 innings of work, and Sam
Peterson tossing another scoreless 5.1 before Trey McGee was pegged with the
Dziedzic, who now sits second in
school history with 262 strikeouts, was feeling it early as he faced just two
hitters over the minimum through seven innings of work with nine Ks. The first
real test for the junior came in the eighth. Cowboy hitter Andrew Guillote beat
out a great play by Bunner at second base for an infield single, but fellow
Cowboy Cameron Toole was not as successful as Cardinal first baseman Brad Picha
gunned him down at the plate to get out of the frame.
Dziedzic regrouped, mowing down the
side in order in both the ninth and 10th frames, paving the way for
“Obviously, it went pretty well
today,” Dziedzic said of his performance. “I had all of my stuff working. When
you come out of the game like that, you’re just hoping to get the win. It’s
great to see Moore come out and pick up from there. He was just filling up the
Moore tossed a perfect four innings
before Tyler Klouser led off the 15th with a double. An intentional
walk and a throwing error by LU catcher Zach Luevanos put the freshman into a
bases-loaded jam, but the Cowboys (13-9, 1-1 SLC) were left flailing as Moore
struck out the ensuing three hitters to send the game into the 16th.
“I was just running on adrenaline
out there,” Moore said. “My fastball was gassed after about the third or fourth
inning, and they just couldn’t hit the curveball. Luevanos just kept calling
for the curve, and it worked.”
“[The 16th] was just a
crazy morale booster,” Olivas said. “I mean, you have a freshman with the bases
loaded and the game on the line, and he was able to get three strikeouts in a
row, and it’s just crazy and it pumped everybody up.”
It got dicey a few more times for
Moore as a two-out error and single put two on for the Cowboys in the 17th
before a ground ball brought the frame to a close. The Cowboys also put the
go-ahead score 90 feet from home in the 18th with two outs left, but
Cardinal outfielder Joe Arechiga was able to keep the runner at third with a
great throw in from center and Darian Johnson caught another fly ball in left
to quell the rally and set the stage for a dramatic bottom half of the frame.
At 18 innings, the game was the
longest in school history, and now with a 20-5 record, it marked the fastest
Cardinal team to 20 victories since 1979.
The Cards and Cowboys will return to
Vincent-Beck Stadium on Sunday for the rubber game of the series. LU is looking
for a sixth consecutive weekend series victory, and David Carver will get the
start on the mound. First pitch is slated for 2 p.m.
Wednesday, April 23 2014, 11:23 AM CDT