Gilligan gets milestone 1,300th win

The Lamar Cardinals celebrate skipper Jim Gilligan's 1,300th career win.

It was tight, but a cast of characters led the Lamar baseball team to a 7-6 win over New Mexico State in the 2015 season opener on Friday, Feb. 6, at Vincent-Beck Stadium, and more importantly, led Cardinal skipper Jim Gilligan to his 1,300th career win.

“These things (coaching records) simply represent teams and players; you don’t win 1,300 games unless you have really good players,” said Gilligan, who opened up his 38th season as Lamar’s head coach. “We’ve had a bunch of them.

“I’m proud of the way the guys played tonight, and for the most part we played pretty well,” said Gilligan. “We had some mental mistakes, but we’ll get that cleaned up.”

Gilligan is only the 19th head coach among all divisions to win 1,300 ball games, and only one of six to still be active.

Lamar went 2-2 in the Cardinal Classic by beating New Mexico State again, 9-2, while losing twice to Illinois by the scores of 8-1 and 9-3.

The Cards will host Manhattan this weekend for a four-game series beginning Friday at 6 p.m. The two will play a double-header on Saturday beginning at 1 p.m. then finish the series on Sunday, Feb. 22, at 11 a.m., all at Vincent-Beck Stadium.

Hoops

The Lady Cards head into Thursday’s game with a six-game winning streak as they last beat Houston Baptist, 79-62, on Feb. 12. LU (14-10, 11-2 SLC) will play in Nacogdoches on Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. against the Lady Jacks, a team that beat them 59-55 in Beaumont back on Jan. 22. They will return home Saturday, Feb. 21, against rival McNeese State at 4 p.m., which will be a double-header with the men.

The Cards defeated Houston Baptist on Feb. 16, 72-64, to improve to 13-12 overall at 7-6 in Southland Conference play. Sophomore Marcus Owens scored 20 points, and senior Tyran de Lattibeaudiere added 16 points with 14 rebounds.

LU will host McNeese State on Saturday at 6 p.m. then play at SFA on Monday, Feb. 23, at 7 p.m.

Freshman point guard Kevin Booze was named Southland Conference Player of the Week on Feb. 16. It marks the second time this season that Booze has won the honor, receiving player of the week honors from CollegeSportsMadness.com earlier this year.

Booze was honored for his efforts in Lamar’s 80-61 victory over Abilene Christian last week leading all scorers with 35 points.

One of the best single-game performances in school history, it was the most points by a Cardinals player since Mike James recorded a single-game school record with 52 during the 2010-11 season.

Softball

The Lady Cards (3-6) went 0-4 in the Mississippi State Invitational last weekend, losing to Louisiana Tech 13-11, Tennessee-Martin 4-1, Mississippi State 7-1 and Illinois, 6-5.

Before the tournament, senior Casey Cromwell was named the Southland Conference Softball Hitter of the Week for her efforts at the Sand Dollar Classic.

Cromwell hit .353 (6-for-17) for five games with two home runs and seven RBIs. She posted a slugging percentage of .706 and an on-base percentage of .421 as the Lady Cardinals went 3-2.

LU will next travel to Ruston to play in the Louisiana Tech Classic. The Lady Cards will play Montana on Friday, Feb. 20, at 10 a.m. followed by a noon tilt against Texas Southern. On Saturday, LU will face host Louisiana Tech at noon.

Football

Former Lamar Cardinals’ standouts Keith Curran and Mark Roberts will be in Houston on Saturday to compete in a regional NFL combine.

The duo helped lead Lamar to one of the best finishes in school history this past season as Lamar tied a school record (as a four-year school) with eight wins this past season.

Roberts wrapped up one of the best careers in program history despite having played only two seasons with the Cardinals. A 2014 All-America selection, Roberts became the first receiver in Cardinals history to record 1,000 receiving yards in a season. That was overshadowed by the fact that Roberts became the school’s all-time leader in touchdown receptions in only two years with the school.

Curran was placed in the unenviable task of replacing a four-year starter and All-American on the defensive line. A junior college transfer, Curran played in 23 games during his two-year career starting all 12 as a senior. Curran finished his career recording 44 total tackles. 

In addition to the NFL combine in Houston, the Cardinals have set a date for their official pro day. It will take place Tuesday, March 10, at Provost Umphrey Stadium. Athlete check-in will take place at 8 a.m., and the workouts will get underway at 9 a.m.

— Compiled by Chad Cooper

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