LU Baseball post 5-4 win over #7 Rice
HOUSTON – Junior Brad Picha went 2-for-4 with a run scored and two runs batted in to help Lamar University post a 5-4 win over No. 7-ranked Rice University Wednesday night at Reckling Park.
“We had some timely hits and outstanding pitching,” said Associate Head Coach Jim Ricklefsen. “Hopefully this will give us some momentum going into this weekend where we have a big series on the road. This shows our guys that if we stay positive and keep our heads up we can have success.”
Lamar has won three of the last five games in the series against the Owls, including the last three meetings in Houston. The Cardinals and Owls will close out the two-game season series with a 6:30 p.m. game Tuesday at Vincent-Beck Stadium.
The Cardinals return to Southland Conference play this weekend with a three-game series at Northwestern State. The Cardinals and Demons are scheduled to play Friday at 6:30 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.
With the game tied a 4-4, Darian Johnson led off the top of the seventh inning with a double down the right field line. After Picha drew a walk, Garrett Autrey singled to left field to drive in Johnson with the game-winning run.
Shane Hamaker (2-3), the sixth of eight pitchers on the night for the Cardinals, picked up the win in relief. He allowed 1 run on two hits with one strikeout in one inning of work. Jeff Abt retired the Owls in order in the bottom of the ninth inning, including picking up a pair of strikeouts, to earn his second save of the season.
Lamar, who has won two straight and four of its last six games, started the scoring with a pair of runs in the top of the second inning. Jeff Abt led off with a walk and Brad Picha followed with a single to left field. Garrett Autrey attempted to sacrifice both runners in scoring position, but reached on a fielder’s choice with Abt being thrown out at third.
Zach Luevanos delivered a two-out, run scoring single to center field, driving in Picha. Wayne Stanley followed with an RBI single to left to drive in Autrey and give the Cardinals a quick 2-0 lead.
The Cardinals added two more runs in the top of the third. Seth Dornak and Abt both drew walks, and Picha drove in both runners with a two-out double to left field to make the score 4-0.
The Owls started to chip away at the Cardinals lead with a run in the bottom of the third inning. Ford Stainback led off the inning with a double to left center field and scored on an infield single by Michael Fuda to make the score 4-1.
Rice added single runs in the fourth and fifth innings. Craig Manuel drew a leadoff walk and moved to third on Michael Ratterree’s double down the right field line. Stainback drove in Manuel with and RBI ground out to second.
The Owls scored an unearned run in the bottom of the fifth to make the score 4-3. Fuda , who was 3-for-5 with a RBI, led off the inning with a single to right field. After a Shane Hoelscher walk, Manuel reached on a fielder’s choice and Fuda scored on a throwing error by shortstop Wayne Stanley.
Rice tied the game at 4-4 with a run in the bottom of the sixth. Ratterree, who was 3-for-4, reached on a bunt single and stole second. Pinch-hitter Ryan Lewis singled to right field to drive in Ratterree.
Jordan Stephens (2-1) took the loss in relief for the Owls. He allowed one run on one hit with a walk and two strikeouts in two-thirds of an inning pitched.