Big first inning not enough for Lamar in loss to McNeese
BEAUMONT – The Lamar baseball team couldn’t have asked for a better start on Friday night, scoring six times in the opening inning against conference rival McNeese State, but unfortunately for the Cardinals, the Cowboys mounted a sixth-inning comeback to win 9-6 at Vincent-Beck Stadium.
With the loss, Lamar fell to 19-5 with an 0-1 mark in Southland Conference play. McNeese improved to 13-8 and 1-0, respectively.
Ten Cards stepped to the plate in opening stanza with Seth Dornak and Garret Autrey drawing first blood by earning bases-loaded walks off McNeese starter Bryce Kinglsey. Singles by Sam Bumpers and Zach Luevanos as well as an Aaron Olivas sacrifice fly plated three more runs, and Bumpers would later score when Luevanos got caught in a run-down between first and second base.
Both Brad Picha and Seth Dornak finished with a pair of walks. Picha and Olivas each ended 1-for-3, and V.J. Bunner was the only Card to record multiple hits, going 2-for-4.
Eric Harrington, who worked himself out of a bases-loaded jam in the first inning, was not as lucky in the second, as the Cowboys led off with back-to-back singles and moved into scoring position on an Andrew Guillote sacrifice bunt. Tyler Klouser and Jackson Gooch cashed in the runs with a single and double, respectively, to halve the LU advantage.
Harrington settled into a groove after that, but the top of the fifth turned ominous for the Cards. Taylor Drake singled off of the senior’s right arm, but it appeared that Harrington recovered when an impressive outfield assist from Darian Johnson brought the frame to a close a few minutes later.
However, Harrington was unable to make it through his warm-up in the sixth. Lance Warren made the trot from the bullpen, and the Cowboys capitalized, striking for five scores in the frame. After striking out the first hitter, Warren loaded the bases before being replaced by Jayson McKinley. A Gooch sac fly scored the first run and a Drake single brought another across.
It looked as if the Cards would hold on to the lead, but a passed ball by Luevanos on a Matt Williams strikeout allowed the Cowboys to even things up, and Phillip Lebleu followed up with a single to score two and hand the visitors from Lake Charles an 8-6 advantage.
Warren ended the day with 0.1 innings pitched and three runs allowed (two earned). McKinley gave up three runs (one earned) on a pair of hits in an inning of work to pick up the loss.
The Cowboys scored once more in the seventh before Chase Angelle took over on the mound, and pitched a scoreless final 2.2 frames.
McNeese out-hit Lamar 13-7 and walked eight times.
The two sides will return to action on Saturday at Vincent-Beck Stadium. First pitch is set for 2 p.m.
Friday, March 22 2013, 11:48 PM CDT