LU baseball season opens with tournament

LU baseball season opens with tournament

The 2017 baseball season begins Friday, Feb. 17, when the Lamar Cardinals host the Cardinal Classic tournament at Vincent-Beck Stadium. LU will open with University of Milwaukee-Wisconsin on Friday at 6 p.m. They will play Illinois on Saturday at 4 p.m. then return Sunday to host the Illini at 10 a.m.

Reigning Hitter of the Year Reid Russell paved the way with five Cardinals voted to the Preseason All-Southland Conference teams.

LU, tied with Sam Houston and Southeastern Louisiana for the most picks overall, had three first-team selections in Russell, catcher Bryndan Arredondo and first baseman Trey Silvers. Lamar’s three on the top team tied New Orleans for the most. Senior outfielder Cutter McDowell and infielder Robin Adames were voted to the second team.

The voting was done by the conference’s head baseball coaches.

“We’re really excited to have experienced hitters in our lineup, but it’s extremely exciting to have a successful and experienced group,” said head coach Will Davis. “Five of the nine guys in our lineup gained recognition from others in our league.”

Golf

The women’s golf team captured the Mid-American Match Play Challenge title with a pair of impressive wins Feb. 14 in Lakewood Ranch, Florida.

The Cardinals defeated Florida Gulf Coast 3.5-1.5 on Feb. 14 in a semifinal match before blanking the Akron Zips 5-0 in the championship match in the afternoon at the Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club. The title comes just three days after the Cardinals finished third at the Ball State Sunshine Invitational.

“This was an outstanding effort by the entire team today,” LU coach Jessica Steward said. “The afternoon match was a physical and mental battle for everyone, but more so for us because this was our second consecutive event.”

Elodie Chapelet, playing in the No. 1 spot, posted the most impressive win of the semifinals, defeating Florida Gulf Coast’s Megan Blonien 5-4. LU’s Wenny Chang, playing at No. 2, defeated Katie Williamson 5-4. LU’s third win came in the No. 5 spot, as Kura Poko defeated Alisa Clark 1.

The Cardinals return to action at the Islander Classic in Corpus Christi, a two-day event that gets underway Feb. 27.

Basketball

After knocking off Sam Houston State in an overtime thriller Feb. 9, the Cards were upset by Houston Baptist on the road, 94-87, on Feb. 11 to fall to 15-10 overall and 7-5 in Southland play.

The Cards are now tied for fourth with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, and will next play on Thursday, Feb. 16, at Stephen F. Austin at 8 p.m.

LU will continue its road trip Saturday, Feb. 18, at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi with a 7 p.m. game, then at last place Northwestern State on Wednesday, Feb. 22, at 8 p.m.

Softball

The 2017 softball season began last weekend for the Lady Cards, who went 2-3 in the Aggie Classic in College Station hosted by Texas A&M on Feb. 10-12.

LU beat Central Michigan twice by the scores of 7-5 and 7-3, then lost to Ohio State (4-3) and twice to host team No. 19 Texas A&M (2-1, 3-2).

“This weekend was a good test for us,” said coach Holly Bruder. “We had some tough games, and we were in all of them. I’m proud of how we competed. We should have won a few more, but we are moving forward quickly. Our pitching was the leader for us this weekend. We just need to get our bats going and get some timely hits.”

For the weekend, Brynn Baca and Ashley McDowell hit .313 to lead the Cardinals offensively. The pitchers had a 3.15 ERA, while opposing pitchers had a 3.20 ERA against the Cardinals.

LU starter Ciara Luna (0-3) took the loss against the  Aggies (4-0), who took the lead for good in the bottom of the third as Kaitlyn Alderink’s two-run single gave Texas A&M a 3-1 lead, chasing Luna.

Lamar will next travel to Waco and play in the Getterman Classic hosted by Baylor, beginning the tournament Friday, Feb. 17, with North Texas at 10 a.m. followed by UTSA at 12:30 p.m.

LU will then tangle with No. 21 Baylor on Feb. 18 at 10 a.m. then North Texas again at 3 p.m. before finishing the tournament on Sunday with Grand Canyon University at 9 a.m.

“I think good things are ahead for Waco,” Bruder said. “We knew this would be a tough schedule, and this will serve to make us a better team.”

The Cardinals open the home season at 4 p.m. Feb. 23 as they take on Alabama A&M in the second Cardinal Classic at the LU Softball Complex. The six-team event runs through Feb. 26.

Track & field

Chanissey Fowler locked up another lifetime best, and Cardinal jumpers finished with high marks Feb. 10 when Lamar competed in the Howie Ryan Invitational, hosted by Houston at Yeoman Fieldhouse.

The meet was the final before LU heads to Birmingham, Alabama, for the Southland Conference Indoor Championships in a little over a week.

Three Cardinals – Fowler, Janay Stanton and Trashauna Hardy – all claimed spots in the finals of the 60-meter dash. Stanton finished third overall in the last round with a 7.79 time, just short of her career best, and Hardy was one one-thousandth of a second behind her for fourth.

Fowler, who was pulled from the finals, downed her previous personal record time during the prelims and finished below the 7.50 mark for the first time in her career. She clocked in at 7.48 seconds and was the top finisher in her heat by more than three-tenths of a second. Her new time sits atop the Southland Conference standings.

Thai Williams was the top collegiate finisher in the long jump at 18 feet, 11.75 inches. She followed only Freeman Derrenae’s 20 feet, 1.75 inches and Morgan Pressley’s 19 feet, 6 inches. Both competed unattached. Deja Phillips finished in a tie for fifth overall on a mark of 18 feet, 7.75 inches.

Keri Banks topped her season best on a first-place-tying finish of 5 feet, 5 inches. She tied Texas Southern’s Sydney Edwards. Jailyn Coward landed her first collegiate mark with a 4 feet, 9 inch leap.

On the men’s side of the long jump, Brian O’Bonna took silver and was the best collegiate jumper on a mark of 22 feet, 5 inches, and teammate Adam Richard hit his season-best mark of 22 feet, 4 1/4 inches and took third place.

Deja Phillips claimed second place in the triple and crushed her previous best mark with a 38-foot leap, a little under 4 feet better than her previous mark. Williams was fourth in the event on a 37 feet, 11 1/4 jump. In the men’s triple, Tylen Guidry neared a personal best, but finished in third place with a 47 feet, 4 1/4 inches jump.

In the middle-distance, Alexandra Sokolova ran the 800 meters for the first time this season and picked up a silver in the event with 2:13.94 race, only behind an unattached Dauicia Demerson’s time of 2:13.77.

In the distance, Erika DeWitt slashed her career best time in the 3000 meters down to 10:41.03 from 11:01.93, which was at the Houston Invitational this season. She ended up in third place behind Rice’s Cali Roper and Abby Halm. Meghan DuPree ran in the event with her and finished at 10:56.44.

Georgia Tuckfield ran in the women’s mile and was third behind a duo of Owls with a time of 5:09.72.

Dominique Taylor ran the fastest in the 60-meter hurdles during the preliminary round, and turned that top seed into a first-place finish in the finals. She ran an 8.73 second race in the early round, following with an 8.69 finish in the finals. Kyara Levi also qualified for the finals in the event 9.16, which was her career best time. She finished the meet eighth overall.

In the men’s 400 meters, Damerian Toliver grabbed fifth place on a 50.90 mark. Christian Joseph finished two slots behind him at 51.64.

In the men’s 200, Adam Petties and Jimmy Struble were first and second, and Sturble clocked a career-best 23.22 time in the event. Petties ran a first-place mark of 23.17.

Lamar heads off to Birmingham to bid for Southland Conference titles in a two-day league meet that starts Feb. 22.

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