LU Baseball breaks out the bats in opener against SFA


BEAUMONT, Texas – The ball was jumping all over the yard, but Trey Silvers’ three-run home run and a four-run sixth inning led the Lamar University baseball team by Stephen F. Austin in a 10-5 win during a crucial Southland Conference series opener Friday night at Vincent-Beck Stadium.

Including Silvers’ home run and double, both teams combined for 10 extra-hits, and five of them were long balls. Reid Russell joined Silvers with a solo shot in the fifth inning, which broke a 4-4 tie, and the Lumberjacks (26-24, 14-11 Southland) added three of their own. The win gave the Cardinals (30-21, 13-12) their 30th win of the season under first-year head coach Will Davis.

Down 3-1 in the bottom of the third inning, Silvers launched his 10th long ball of the year, third three-run bomb, with no outs after Chad Fleischman reached on a bloop single in right and Chaneng Varela drew a walk. Conner Fikes tied it back at 4-4 in the top of the fourth with a solo bomb, but the Russell won the lead back with leadoff bomb in the bottom of the frame. The bomb was the ninth of Russell’s season and 27th of his career. He sits in fourth place on the all-time home run list at Lamar.

With Russell’s 18 homers last season and Silvers’ 10 this year, it is the first time that LU has had at least one player reach double-digits in back-to-back seasons since Michael Ambort and David Moore did it in 2007 and 2008.

The Cardinals gained some insurance with four runs in the sixth. Silvers drew a leadoff walk and took off for third on a ground-rule double from Chad McKinney. After a pitching change, Phil Ingram walked the bases loaded for RBI singles from Vincent Dellocono and Grant DeVore. Ingram scored a sacrifice fly to right from Russell, and Dellonoco crossed the plate on a wild pitch.

LU’s final run came after Cole Girouard reached on a leadoff single through the right side and double from Silvers that put two in scoring position. Dellocono lined one into centerfield for a sacrifice that scored Girouard.

“Without Robin (Adames) and Cutter (McDowell) in the lineup, we really needed guys to step up, and they did today. Trey’s three-run homer was huge, and it’s great to see him get going,” said head coach Will Davis. “Dellocono had some big at-bats. Chad McKinney had a huge double. It was a great overall team effort, and that is what we needed tonight.”

McDowell is out for the weekend due to an injury, and Adames served a one-game suspension for being ejected at Oklahoma State.

Big Red outhit the Lumberjacks 12-8, and were led by four Cardinals with two hits each. At the top of the lineup, DeVore had a 2-for-4 day with two RBIs. He’s been the leadoff guy in two games during McDowell’s absence, and is 4-of-7 with three RBI and three runs scored.

“Sometimes it takes junior college guys some time to get adjusted to the Division I level, and I think you can really see DeVore, Chad (Fleischman) and Phil (Ingram) have all done that in the second half in the season,” said Davis. “We are seeing who Grant DeVore is, and I have a lot of confidence in him and the at-bats he is putting up.”

Fleischman was 2-of-5 with a run scored, Silvers had three RBI and two runs in a 2-for-3 day, and Dellocono had two base knocks in two at-bats. Both he and Russell each had two RBIs.

Carson Lance (7-5) minimized threats throughout the day, using the strikeout to get out of jams. He recorded a strikeout in every full frame he worked, and three of them were to end the inning. He totaled 7 1/3 innings with four earned runs on eight hits and one walk. His final strikeout count was eight, his second-highest at Lamar.

“His secondary stuff was going today. If he’s had an issue this year, it was that he missed on that sometimes. He’s been throwing a lot of strikes lately, and that has been big,” said Davis. “On a day like today, if he’d had a lot of walks, it would have been tough to overcome. He was able to limit the damage and gave us a quality start.”

Tanner Driskill relieved him in the eighth with one out and men on first and second. He worked out of the jam with a strikeout and a fly out. He finished with 1 2/3 scoreless innings and only allowed a walk.

SFA’s Patrick Ledet (6-5) took the loss in five innings. He gave up six earned runs on eight hits and three walks. Cole Ridgely worked two innings with three runs allowed on three hits and two walks.

Lamar will try for the series win Saturday in a 2 p.m. contest. Left-hander Ryan Johnson (3-1, 5.95 earned run average) will take on righty Trevor Kiminski (3-3, 5.05). Pregame ceremonies will include honoring 50 years of players during the LUBPA Alumni Weekend, recognizing the 1967 Cardinals and inducting five former players in to the LUBPA Hall of Fame.

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