Dziedzic becomes LU Stikeout king as Cards beat Lions
HAMMOND, La. – A week after Eric Harrington completed his assault on the Lamar record book, Jonathan Dziedzic took his turn, striking out seven in eight innings of work to lead the Lamar baseball team to a 6-2 victory over Southland Conference-leading Southeastern Louisiana at North Oak Park.
Dziedzic, a junior out of Humble, has now collected 272 career strikeouts, taking over the top spot that was previously held by William Delage, who donned the Red and White from 2003-06.
More importantly, however, the Card dealt Southeastern Louisiana its first conference loss of the season. With the victory, Lamar improved to 23-8, surpassing last season’s win total, and 3-4 in SLC play. The Lions fell to 21-9 and 6-1, respectively.
“It’s definitely a cool achievement to have, but the win was bigger,” Dziedzic said. “I didn’t really know how close I was to the record. I was able to locate my fastball pretty well, and I really had a feel for all my pitches. Zach Luevanos was calling a good game behind the plate. Tonight was just huge for us all because they have been the top team in the conference, and a win like this was something we needed.”
“Jonathan is one of the finest young men that we’ve had in our program,” said 36-year head coach Jim Gilligan. “I love the way that he goes about baseball and life, and I’m very proud of him. He’s pitched some great games recently, but hasn’t gotten the decision, so for him to get the record with a win on a Friday night against Southeastern was big.”
Dziedzic was strong for much of the night, allowing five hits and two runs (one earned) to improve to 4-1 on the year. Harrington made the jog from the bullpen and struck out two of the three batters he faced in the ninth to put the game to bed.
Things didn’t go as swimmingly for the Lions, as the Cards got to SLU starter Sean Kennel for four runs and 10 hits in just 4.1 innings, handing him his first loss of the season.
Leading the LU barrage was Seth Dornak, who finished 3-for-5 at the plate with a pair of runs scored. Aaron Olivas also made some noise offensively, going 2-for-4 with three runs batted in, and both Garret Autrey and Darian Johnson joined in the fun with two-hit showings.
In all, every Lamar batter collected a hit, and the Cards out-hit the Lions 14-5.
“It was just a great ball game tonight,” Gilligan said. “The enthusiasm was really off the charts, and there were a lot of positives all around. Autrey and Olivas both had big nights for us, and I just had fun watching them play. However, it’s one game, and we need to have a ‘one-game-at-a-time’ mentality as we keep going.”
After a Dziedzic throwing error and wild pitch allowed SLU to strike for a score in the first, the junior settled down by mowing down the ensuing 10 Lion hitters in order, allowing the Cards the time to grab the lead.
“Even though I gave up the run, I still felt the ball was coming out of my hand well,” Dziedzic explained. “I just needed to get out of the first inning after I didn’t do well with a bunt there. I don’t know if I thought I’d put down 10 in a row, but I felt like I could definitely keep them at bay tonight.”
Dornak and Autrey proved to be the catalysts for Lamar’s first two scores of the ball game. The duo started off each rally with a single and double, respectively, with Dornak ultimately scoring a Lion throwing error in the second and on an Olivas single in the fourth.
The Cards went on to extend their lead with two more in the top of the fifth. Jude Vidrine led off with a double before later scoring on a V.J. Bunner single. Dornak and Autrey once again proved important with a Dornak single and Autrey groundout plating the frame’s second run to hand LU a 4-1 lead.
After the Lions struck for another score in the bottom half of the fifth, the Cards quelled any hope for a comeback with two more runs in the seventh. A Brad Picha single and Autrey walk put two on for Olivas, who came through with a double to center to account for the game’s final score.
Lamar and Southeastern Louisiana will return to action in Hammond on Saturday afternoon. Travis Moore will get the start on the mound for the Red and White, and first pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m.
Wednesday, April 23 2014, 10:23 AM CDT