LU baseball team bounces back after Friday's loss
BEAUMONT – For the second time this season, Jacoby Middleton was the subject of celebration at Vincent-Beck Stadium as the junior transfer belted a single up the middle to seal a 10th inning walk-off victory over Harvard on Saturday evening.
The 3-2 win was the second of the day for the Lamar baseball team after taking home a 4-3 decision over the visitors from the Ivy League in the afternoon game. With the victories, the Cardinals improved to 10-6 on the year, and Harvard dropped to 1-6.
After LU surrendered a one-run lead in the top of ninth, Middleton stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the 10th with Jude Vidrine standing just 90 feet from home and one out on the board.
“I just wanted to put the ball in play,” Middleton said of his final at-bat. “These types of wins say a lot about our team. We don’t give up. We fight to the last pitch, and everybody on this team can come through in that kind of situation. Tonight, it was my turn, and the next night it might be someone else. We have some fighters on this team.”
Middleton finished the game 2-for-5 at the plate, and Vidrine was 2-for-4 with a walk and two scores. As a team, LU out-hit Harvard 10-4.
It was very much a pitching battle for much of the second game on Saturday as starters J.T. Autrey and Sam Dodge held both offenses at bay. Autrey, normally a reliever for LU, threw 5.1 two-hit innings with six strikeouts before surrendering the go-ahead score for Harvard in the sixth. It marked the longest outing of his career for the Cards.
Dodge left the mound after 6.1 scoreless frames, and LU finally broke through with a pair of runs in the eighth off of Crimson relievers Zack Olson and Kevin Rex. Back-to-back one-out singles by Vidrine and Wayne Stanley got the offense going, and Kevin Santana earned a walk to load the bases. Kyle Markum gave the Cards the late game lead with a single down the left field line.
After reliever Lance Warren was credited with a lead-off walk in the ninth, Brent Janak came to the mound in search of his first save of the year. Unfortunately for the Cards, a throwing error and a single put the game-tying run on third, and a Carlton Bailey groundout moments later evened things up.
Janak tossed a pair of one-hit innings to earn his third victory of the year and improve to 3-0.
In the early game, the Cards pounced with three runs over the opening two frames to grab their first lead of the series. Harvard starter Nick Gruener issued back-to-back walks to Reed Seeley and Sam Bumpers to get the Red and White started, and a Vidrine sacrifice bunt put both in scoring position. As in the second game, Markum delivered in a big spot, hammering a two-out double down the right field line.
Markum finished 2-for-3 at the plate, and LU was actually out-hit in the game 12-9.
Stanley helped add to the total in the ensuing frame, lacing a two-out single up the middle. The Lumberton product then stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch before a Seeley single to short brought him home.
Kevin Santana led off the bottom half of the fifth with a double and he later scored on a Brandon Provost single to give the Cards a 4-0 lead.
Both Stanley and Santana finished 2-for-4 with a score.
Will Hibbs made the start on the mound for LU, and was pretty strong for much of it, throwing 5.2 innings with five strikeouts to just one walk. The Friendswood native surrendered seven hits on the day, whith resulted in a pair of scores in the sixth.
The Crimson pulled within one with a run in the seventh, and the trio of Brandon Kirkham, Andrew Beasley and Hunter Perry combined to hold the team to just two hits over the final six outs to preserve the win. Perry was the last to make the jog to the mound, and he went on to earn his first save of the 2014 season.
The Cards will return to action on Sunday in search of a third consecutive series victory. First pitch at Vincent-Beck Stadium is scheduled for 11 a.m.