Four Cardinals taken in MLB Draft

Reid Russell

Four Cardinals, including 16th rounder Carson Lance, were picked to continue their baseball careers, hearing their respective names called by Major League clubs as they were selected in the MLB Amateur Draft on June 14.

Lance, a junior, was chosen by the Detroit Tigers in the 16th round with pick 485. In the 23rd round, senior catcher Bryndan Arredondo was picked with the 698th selection by the Baltimore Orioles. Senior pitcher Jimmy Johnson was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 28th round with the 832nd pick. Senior outfielder Reid Russell was chosen with the 991st pick in the 33rd round by the Houston Astros.

The four Cardinals selected gave LU the most picks in one draft since four were taken in 2009. In each of the last seven seasons, there has been at least one pitcher chosen from the Cardinal program, and during that span, nine total pitchers were chosen. Lamar has had at least one player drafted in 15 of the last 16 seasons, and the last seven straight.

The Southland Conference as a whole had 18 selections, led by the Cardinals’ four. Sam Houston State followed with three, and McNeese, Southeastern Louisiana and Central Arkansas all had two apiece.

Lance (7-7, 4.17 earned run average) in his first season with the Cardinals made his debut as the second starter of the LU rotation, but quickly found his way to the top spot by the third week of the Southland Conference season. He finished the season with the team’s most starts (15) and topped the team in innings pitched at 90.2. The 16th round selection was the highest pick (485) to come out of LU since Jonathan Dziedzic – now with the AAA affiliate of the Kansas City Royals – was selected in the 13th round.

In the Katy native’s innings pitched, he struck out 85 batters and walked 48. He held his opponents to a .225 batting average and tossed a complete game against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. In that game, he allowed two runs on five hits, and struck out his season-high 11 batters with no walks.

He worked seven or more innings in six of his 15 starts, and all were in the 10 Southland Conference starts he made on the season. Against Nicholls, the junior worked eight innings with just one earned run allowed on six hits with five punchouts.

Arredondo is the first catcher to be drafted out of Lamar since Michael Ambort in 2007. He is a two-time All-Southland Conference catcher and was selected as a first-teamer his junior season and a third-teamer in 2017.

The Lubbock native finished this season with a .311 batting average (fifth on the team) with 33 runs scored and 32 driven in; the latter two were his bests in his two-year career. He recorded the team’s longest reached-base streak at 21 games, and while on it he was 29-of-73 (.397) with 12 walks and 17 RBI.

He had 15 multi-hit games and nine multi-RBI contests this season, including in the last series of the season against McNeese when he lifted a two-run shot in the series opener. It was his fifth bomb of the season in a 3-for-4 day. That game was the last of six three-hit contests he had on the year, and three times he notched four RBI in a game (Illinois, Baylor and Southern).

He finished his career at LU with a .313 batting average, 122 total hits, 20 doubles, eight home runs, 62 runs scored and 58 runs batted in. Twice he was listed on the Johnny Bench Award watch list.

Johnson served time as both a closer and starter in his two-year stay with the Cardinals. For his career, he pitched in 42 games and started 12, with 10 of those coming in his senior season. His record was 13-8 with seven career saves, and he had a 4.73 earned run average across 125.2 total innings. He totaled 88 career strikeouts to 45 walks.

Prior to his time at Lamar, he helped Tyler Junior College to a Division III National Championship.

Russell was the 2016 Southland Conference Hitter of the Year. He is a two-time All-Southland Conference pick after taking the first-team designation his junior season and third-team mark his senior season. He tied for the team’s lead in home runs (10), which gave him 28 career bombs, ranked fourth all-time at Lamar. He has the most homers hit for a two-year player at Big Red.

He led the team with 41 walks and was second in on-base percentage of .427. He finished his season with a .317 batting average with 52 runs scored and 43 runs batted in. He was one of two Cardinals who could claim 40-plus runs scored and runs batted in.

He had the team’s longest hit streak this season at 14 games, and was fourth with a 17-game reached-base streak. His career long hit streak was 18 games, notched in 2016, which ranks sixth at Lamar for longest streak. Twice he was named Southland Conference Hitter of the Week and once as National Player of the Week. He was a 2016 Rawlings First-Team All-South Central Regional Team pick.

The converted outfielder from Longview was perfect in the field through his two-year stay. He finished his career with a .335 batting average, 144 base hits, 22 doubles, 93 runs scored, 105 runs batted in. He played in all 112 games of his career.

Teammates with Jimmy Johnson at Tyler, he helped TJC to back-to-back national championship prior to his time at Lamar. He is the first outfielder to be taken in the draft since Darian Johnson in 2013.

Arredondo and Brent Janak were each tabbed as academic standouts when the senior duo was voted to the 2017 Academic All-Southland Conference second team, the league announced June 15.

Janak, a four-year player with the Cardinals, wrapped up his time with a 5-4 career record with 39 appearances in the Red and White. In his senior season, the Friendswood native had a 2-1 record in 13 appearances, with a 4.29 ERA.

His best outing was 2.1 scoreless innings at College World Series participant LSU. He held the Tigers hitless with just one walk. He earned a win over Texas Southern – who went on to the NCAA Regionals with three innings of work. He totaled 25.1 frames and 21 strikeouts, both career highs.

The All-Academic teams are voted on by head coaches, sports information directors and academic and compliance staff members from each Southland Conference institution. Student-athletes must possess a 3.0 cumulative GPA, have completed one full academic year at the nominating institution and participated in at least 50 percent of the team’s competition to qualify for All-Academic selection, excluding pitchers. Nominees who were also named to the All-Conference First Team or CoSIDA Academic All-District team are automatically named Southland All-Academic.

Women’s golf

The Lamar women’s golf team will travel to Alabama, Oklahoma, Connecticut, Louisiana and California to compete in tournaments in the fall, but come spring, LU’s five tournaments, including the Southland Conference Championship, will all be in Texas, according to the 2017-18 schedule.

“Our all-Texas spring shows how great the competition and courses are in our home state,” said Jessica Steward. “I feel confident that these tournaments will help prepare us for postseason play.”

LU opens the fall season at the South Alabama Intercollegiate, set for Sept. 16-18 in Mobile. Other fall tournaments include the Bob Hurley Shootout in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where the Cardinals look to defend their title, the Yale Bulldog Women’s Invitational in New Haven, Connecticut, and the ULM Fred Marx Invitational in Monroe, Louisiana. The Cardinals wrap up the fall schedule at the Santa Clara Colby Invitational, slated for Nov. 6-7 in San Jose, California.

“It will be great to show the girls different parts of the country and to play some incredible courses,” Steward said. “The tournament in Alabama will be on a Robert Trent Jones course that has a great reputation. I’ve played on the course at Yale; it’s a very strategy-oriented course. I know all of the players are excited about being able to go to California.”

The spring season opens with the Texas State Invitational in Kyle, which is set for Feb. 12-13. LU will also participate in the Islander Classic in Corpus Christi from Feb. 26-27, and the HBU Huskies Invitational, slated for March 19-20 in Sugar Land.

LU will host the Cardinal Challenge at the Beaumont Country Club from April 9-10 in the final tune-up before the Southland Conference Championship, set for April 16-18 at the Woodcrest Golf Club in Montgomery. LU won the Cardinal Challenge last season, as Elodie Chapelet, the Southland Conference Golfer of the Year and Freshman of the Year, claimed her fourth individual title of the season.

“We’re excited to be hosting the Cardinal Challenge again,” Steward said. “The girls like playing in a tournament on their home course, and the people at the Beaumont Country Club have been just tremendous to us.”