Pablo Salinas, Joey Latulippe, Jeff Abt and Wade Mathis combined for 13 of Lamar University’s 15 hits Saturday afternoon as the Cardinals came from behind twice in defeating Nicholls 9-4 in Southland Conference play.
Salinas, a senior third baseman, entered the game with a .288 batting average, but his 4-for-5 performance hiked that mark to .333 by the game’s end. He also drove in two runs.
Latulippe, the Cardinals’ senior catcher, extended his season-best hitting streak to seven games with a second-inning single to left field, and he went on to go 3-for-5 and drive in one run.
Abt, a junior outfielder/pitcher, and Mathis, the Cards’ senior first baseman, also went 3-for-5 each as the Cardinals improved to 11-6 on the season and 2-0 in the SLC. Nicholls fell to 7-6 and 0-2, respectively.
“Nicholls came out very aggressive at the start, because they knew Harrington (Eric, Lamar’s starting pitcher) wasn’t likely to walk anyone,” said obviously-pleased Lamar coach Jim Gilligan after the game. “They (the Colonels) executed a really nice hit-and-run play to help them get a two-run lead in the first inning, but we didn’t panic.
“We knew we would get our chances as the game wore on. Sure enough, we staged a really good comeback. We had some very good at-bats and started putting some hits together, and the next thing you knew we had a lot of runs on the board.”
The Cardinals tied the score at 2-2 in the second inning, but the Colonels retook the advantage at 4-2 in the fifth. The Cardinals came right back with a two spot of their own to retie the score.
The Cardinals gained separation with a three-run sixth inning sparked by a two-run single by Mathis and a bases-loaded walk to designated hitter Cameron Campbell to net another run.
Lamar padded its lead with single runs in the seventh and eighth, and reliever Shane Hamaker closed the door on the Colonels over the final 3.2 innings. The 6-foot-5 junior right-hander did not allow a hit and struck out five batters in improving his early-season record to 3-0.
The Cardinals and Colonels will meet in Game 3 of the weekend series with a 1 p.m. start on Sunday. Sophomore left-hander Jonathan Dziedzic is Lamar’s expected starting pitcher, while right-hander Brian Arceneaux is slated to start for the Colonels.