The Lamar Cardinals clawed their way into the Southland Conference win column after being swept on the road by Central Arkansas and losing the first two home games with UT Arlington.
According to Lamar head coach Jim Gilligan, the pivotal point in the Cardinals’ 4-3 victory over UTA on March 25 came when he got ejected from the game by home plate umpire Shaylor Smith in the top of the ninth inning.
With Gilligan still soothing his temper in his office just behind Vincent-Beck Stadium’s third base dugout, freshman shortstop Wayne Stanley drilled a single down the left-field line to drive in pinch runner Joe Arechiga with the winning run with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning.
“Give this win to Scottie (Hatten, the Cardinals’ 12th-season assistant coach),” said Gilligan. “He stuck with Stanley when I probably would’ve pinch-hit (Seth) Dornak in that situation.”
Stanley, a 6-foot-1, 151-pounder from Lumberton who had only three hits in 11 at-bats entering the game, improved his batting average to .357 by going 2-for-3 at the plate, and he helped the Cardinal defenders turn a season-high four double plays.
In addition to moving to 1-5 in the league, the Cardinals improved to 7-12 on the season with the win over the University of Texas at Arlington. The Mavericks, who won the first two games of the weekend series, fell to 13-8 overall and 3-3 in the SLC.
The Cards took a break from league play when they traveled to play at No. 5 Rice on March 21. Lamar returns to SLC play March 23-25 to play at Northwestern State in a three-game set.
Lamar will host Rice on Tuesday, March 27 at 6:30 p.m.
Lamar University’s football team opened spring training Wednesday, March 21, some six weeks later than it did last year on Feb. 7.
Coach Ray Woodard’s Cardinals, who are coming off a 4-7 campaign in 2011, will conduct 4 p.m. practices on Friday and Saturday. After that, the Cardinals will go to a Monday through Thursday practice schedule, unless later altered by weather conditions.
Most of the spring workouts will be held in Provost Umphrey Stadium, although some may be held at the adjacent Vernon Glass Field of Champions practice facility. The Cardinals will conclude spring training with the playing of the annual Red-White Spring Game, tentatively set for Tuesday, April 17, in Provost Umphrey Stadium.
“I’m excited about getting spring training started with our new coaches under tow,” said Woodard. “I’m looking forward to seeing how the new coaches relate to our returning players and how the players react to the new coaches.”
Earlier this month, Woodard announced the additions of former NFL All-Pro player Bill Bradley, former Lamar offensive coordinator Larry Kueck and former Trinity High School athletic director and head football coach Chuck Langston to his Cardinal staff. Bradley, who starred at the University of Texas before going on to the Philadelphia Eagles, will be the Cardinals’ defensive coordinator, while Kueck, who has coached at Marshall University, SMU, Southern Mississippi and the University of Mississippi as well at Lamar, will be an offensive assistant. Langston, a Beaumont West Brook graduate and four-year letterman at center for Oklahoma University, will serve as director of football operations.
“We have a number of starters coming back on both sides of the ball, and we’re excited about seeing how all of the pieces fall together in preparation for this next season,” said Woodard. “Hopefully, a lot of questions will be answered between Wednesday’s first practice and the playing of the spring game.”
Among the quality players departed from the 2011 Cardinals are wide receivers J.J. Hayes and Marcus Jackson, quarterback Andre Bevil, offensive lineman Cameron Epple and linebackers Asim Hicks and Darby Jackson.
Lamar will open its 2012 football schedule on Sept. 1 with a road game at former rival Louisiana-Lafayette, now a member of the Sun Belt Conference. Woodard’s Cardinals will face a second Football Bowl Subdivision school when they travel to Honolulu, Hawaii, to play a Sept. 15 game against the University of Hawaii.The Cardinals’ home opener in 16,000-seat Provost Umphrey Stadium is set for Sept. 8 against Prairie View A&M University. Their Southland Conference opener will be in Beaumont against Southeastern Louisiana University on Sept. 29, and their 2012 Homecoming Game will be against McMurry University on Oct. 13.For season ticket information, call the Lamar ticket office at (409) 880-1715.
With senior M.J. Daffue taking home the individual title on March 17, the rest of the Lamar men’s golf team provided plenty of support to lead the Cardinals to the team title of the annual Border Olympics at the Laredo Country Club.
Lamar, who also won the Border Olympics in 2007, picked up its first team title since winning the 2009 Southland Conference Championship. The Cardinals (870) and No. 31 Baylor Bears (875) were the only two teams to shoot a cumulative score under 880.
Daffue, who won for the fourth time in his Lamar career, finished with a 5-under 211. Other Cardinal golfers who played were Xavier Feyaerts (T3, 216), freshman Luke Jerling (T11, 221), senior Kevin Hesbois (T18, 223), sophomore Stephane Dubois (T60, 232) and freshman Gustaf Burenstam (T29, 225), who played as an individual.
Lamar will have two weeks off from competition before playing in the Insperity Augusta State Invitational on March 31.
The Lady Cards competed in the Insperity Lady Jaguar Intercollegiate in Augusta, Ga., last weekend and finished ninth with a team total of 926. UTSA won the team title with a 16-over 880.
LU junior Julie Aime posted her sixth top 15 finish of the season with a 14th place tie with a 9-over 225. Purdue’s Paula Reto won medalist honors with a 9-under 207.
LU freshman Nghi Ngo tied for 25th with a 13-over 229.
Other Cardinal golfers were sophomore Katelyn McDougal (T44, 233), sophomore Lauren Van Gerven (T63, 241) and senior Sarah Nicholas (T68, 245).The Lady Cardinals will compete in just one more tournament before next month’s Southland Conference Championship. Lamar will open play in the HBU Husky Invitational at Riverbend Country Club on Apr. 2.
The Cards dropped a 7-0 match at No. 43 Arkansas (13-5) on Tuesday, March 20, in Fayetteville.
Lamar (4-5) did have two non-conference wins before the setback with Arkansas as they defeated UMKC (1-9) by the score of 6-1. Rob Lee won his second consecutive match at No. 1 singles with a 7-6 (1), 6-3 triumph over Grant Fleming. Denis Ermilov, Carlos Valdenebro, Bruno Snyder and Mikko Rajamaki also won at singles for the Cardinals.
“We played very solid in both doubles and singles,” said head coach Scott Shankles. “We did a great job holding serve throughout doubles. That proved to be the difference.”
The Cards also defeated Marist, 4-3, at the Thompson Family Tennis Center on March 15. Bruno Snyder’s three-set victory at No. 4 singles snapped a 3-3 tie.Lamar opens a four-match homestand by taking on Alcorn State at 10 a.m. March 24.
The Lady Cards defeated McNeese State 6-1 at home March 16 then dropped a non-conference tilt to South Alabama, 6-1, on March 18.
In the win over McNeese State (1-9, 0-4), Alessandra Pennesi won her seventh straight singles match for Lamar, taking a 6-3, 6-2 decision over Marcella Castaldi at No. 5 singles. Carolina Salas, Natalia Mayagoitia, Carolina Maso and Helene Czudek also won their singles matches for the Lady Cardinals.
LU (4-6, 2-2) will next host a two matches on Saturday, March 24, beginning with Southeastern Louisiana at 10 a.m. and UT Pan American at 3 p.m.