Lamar baseball gets hot at the right time

Lamar baseball gets hot at the right time

First year head coach Will Davis and his baseball Cardinals are winners of six straight, which included an all-important home sweep last weekend against Stephen F. Austin to jump right back into the mix for a postseason bid to the Southland Conference Tournament with one series remaining.

LU downed SFA by the scores of 10-5, 14-8 and 9-4, and sophomore Robin Adames had a monster game last Saturday, going 3-6 at the plate with 6 RBIs.

“This sweep meant everything. We had an opportunity to do something special, and our guys responded,” said Davis. “Our team is so resilient, and it was a total team effort all weekend. You want to be playing your best baseball at the end of the year, and I feel like that’s what we are doing. I couldn’t be more excited to continue this journey with these guys.”

In the series finale with SFA, senior Jimmy Johnson (6-4) got off to a rocky start but leaned on his defense and finished out strong with 7 2/3 innings of work – his second-longest outing of the season – with four runs allowed (three earned) on nine hits and one walk.

He faced the minimum in the third, due in large part to Bryndan Arredondo’s laser to cut down Zac Michener trying to steal second base, and gave up a single in the fourth but stranded him. A leadoff walk and error hurt in the fifth, but Johnson returned to set them down in order in the sixth. The Palestine native was perfect in the seventh and ended his day with back-to-back flyouts to start the eighth before fellow senior Brett Brown was called on.

Brown, from Nederland, closed out the game, and his lone base runner was one he hit with a pitch.

“It was great to see Jimmy and Brett do what they did on Senior Day,” said Davis. “They really stepped up and did a job for us.”

LU is currently tied for fifth with Central Arkansas and has a one-game lead on Nicholls and SFA, and a two-game lead on New Orleans.

The Cards will play in their final regular season series this weekend in Lake Charles against first place McNeese State (34-16, 20-7), who has a 20-3 record at home.

The three-game series begins Thursday, May 18, at 6 p.m. Game 2 will be on Friday at 6 p.m. and the finale on Saturday at 3 p.m.

Tennis

The Cards’ season came to an end in the opening round of the NCAA Championships on May 12 as No. 7 Baylor Bears recorded a 4-0 victory over Lamar at the Hurd Tennis Center in Waco.

The Bears advance to the second round of the tournament to face Ivy League champion Cornell, who defeated Rice 4-0 in the morning match.

The setback comes in Big Red’s second consecutive season advancing to the NCAA Championships.

“We knew going in that we needed to win the doubles point,” said head coach Scott Shankles. “It is very hard to beat a top-10 team needing to win four singles matches. We had the right game plan coming in: We know what they like to do and we know who we are. We had one break at 5-5 on line three that changed the momentum a little late in the match. We played them tough, and I’m very proud of that.”

Seniors Juuso Laitinen, Jeandre Hoogenboezem, Nikita Lis and Michael Feucht leave the tennis program as one of the best classes in school history.

“These seniors mean the world to me,” said Shankles. “Prior to their arrival, we were really trying to build this program up, but when they got here, I knew they were going to do some special things. They have worked hard on the court, in the classroom and in the community. I’m very proud of what these guys have accomplished. … We’ve won more than 60 matches since they started. That is a big turnaround for just four players.”

The Cardinals close the season with a 17-8 (.680) overall record.

LU golf camp

Men’s golf coach Jessie Mudd and women’s golf coach Jessica Steward will conduct a three-day golf camp in June for young golfers aged 13-18 who wish to play tournament golf.

The Cardinal Golf Academy is scheduled for June 6-8 at the Beaumont Country Club and runs from 8 a.m. – noon each day.

The academy includes full-swing and short-game instruction, putting and tournament preparation with a nine-hole tournament. There will be discussions concerning the recruitment process for college golf and how to get noticed by college coaches.

Mudd, who just completed his second year as head coach of the Cardinals, brings several years of experience administering and instructing junior golf camps from his former coaching position at the University of Kentucky. He was one of the nation’s top junior golfers, earning the title of Kentucky Mr. Golf as a junior and senior, while helping his high school team, St. Xavier, win three state championships. He was ranked as the nation’s top junior golfer by Golfweek Magazine heading into his senior year.

A two-time AJGA Polo All-America in high school, Mudd attended the University of Florida on a golf scholarship. During his time with the Gators, Mudd was part of a team that was ranked in the top 10 in three of his four seasons.

Mudd posted the fourth-best scoring average by a freshman in school history, carding 15 rounds of par or better and placing in the top 10 on three occasions. He was the SEC Co-Freshman of the Year and received PING All-America honors in 2004.

Steward, the 2016 Southland Conference Coach of the Year after leading LU to its fourth consecutive Southland Conference title, just concluded her second season with the Cardinals after seven seasons as the head coach at IPFW.

A certified LPGA golf instructor, Steward was the assistant golf professional at Coyote Creek Golf Club in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Steward has conducted numerous golf clinics or camps each year since becoming and LPGA instructor in 2008. She’s passionate about introducing juniors to the sport in a fun and engaging way while also helping more advanced players develop into successful competitors.

The cost of the academy is $225 per person, with discounts for teams, siblings and children or grandchildren of LU employees available. The academy is limited to the first 15 paid entrants.

For more information, call (502) 291-7291 or view lamargolfcamps.com.

Track & field

The LU men’s and women’s track teams competed last weekend in the Southland Conference championships hosted by University of New Orleans at Tad Gormley Stadium.

The Cardinal women finished in fourth place at the meet with a total of 66 points.

Jannika John won the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 10:23.02, which ranks third all-time in the Lamar University record books, and gave her a seven-second cushion over last year’s champion, Shelby Pesek of Stephen F. Austin.

John went on to finish second in the 5K meters in 17:41.46 while teammate Evelyn Chavez ran third in 17:41.72.

Chavez also took bronze in the 10K meter run with a time of 37:07.67.

Deja Phillips notched her personal best in the long jump and collected gold with a jump of 19 feet, 8.25 inches, giving her the fourth longest leap in school history.

Chanissey Fowler was third in the 100-meters with a time of 11.78.

On the men’s side, Brian O’Bonna took the crown in the triple jump, and Tylen Guidry was second, both setting lifetime bests at the meet. O’Bonna topped his previous best in the third jump, but then upped it even higher on his way to a gold medal finish with his third leap that hit a 51 foot, 5 inch mark. Guidry’s silver medal leap was 50 feet, 4.25 inches.

Freddie Gasbarri earned a bronze medal in the 5K run in 15:09.91.

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