The Port Arthur News
BEAUMONT - The Lamar baseball team's hot start kept going on Saturday at Vincent-Beck Stadium as the Cardinals picked up a pair of wins over visiting Columbia to run their streak of consecutive victories to six.
LU grabbed a 7-5 victory in game one and a 9-5 decision in the second, sweeping a doubleheader for the third time this season. With the wins, Lamar moves to 10-2 on the year, the best start since 2010, and Columbia dropped to 0-3.
In the first game, the Cards capitalized on some mistakes by Lion pitcher Joey Donino to take an early lead. Darian Johnson hit a one-out double to left to bring home a run in the first, and a wild second frame that included a trio of infield singles, a pair of walks and a wild pitch resulted in three runs for the home side, putting the visitors from the Ivy League down 4-0 after two.
Collin Chapman got the start on the mound for LU, and after giving up just one hit over the first two innings, hwas pegged for a pair of runs in both the third and fourth innings.
The Cards went on to manufacture a couple of runs in the bottom of the fourth, putting Chapman back in line for the win. Sam Bumpers and Andrew Dewey led off the frame with a walk and a single, and a Jude Vidrine sacrifice bunt put the duo in scoring position. Bumpers scored just moments later by beating the tag on an Aaron Olivas fielder's choice, and a Johnson sacrifice fly scored Dewey to give Lamar a two-run advantage.
Johnson finished the game 2-for-3 with three runs batted in, and both Dewey and Bumpers scored twice.
Columbia and Lamar each scored once more as the game wore on, and with the tying run on first in the top of the ninth, David Carver made the trot from the bullpen and struck out Columbia's Eric Williams to end the threat and pick up his first career save.
After being dealt a loss last Friday, pitcher Jonathan Dziedzic returned to form on Saturday with a strong seven inning performance in game two. The southpaw out of Humble struck out seven and walked just one in the game, allowing two runs on three hits to pick up his first win of the season.
The Cards once again jumped out to an early lead as Olivas, Brandon Provost, Garret Autrey and Bumpers laced together four consecutive two-out singles to score two in the second.
Columbia once again mounted a response as Mike Fischer homered in the top of the third to cut the lead in half. Jordan Serena reached base after striking out on a wild pitch, and moved to third on two more before scoring on a Nick Crucet groundout to even the game.
Another two-out rally gave LU the lead again in the third. Seth Dornak earned a walk and an Olivas double put the duo in scoring position. Provost legged out an infield single to score the first, and Autrey followed up with a double to bring another home and give the Cards a 4-2 advantage.
Olivas finished 3-for-5 with two runs.
Dziedzic bounced back in style, striking out the side in the fourth and facing just one over the minimum over this final four innings.
Lamar would score with two outs in each of the ensuing two frames with Johnson doubling and later scoring in the fourth and Autrey homering in the fifth.
Johnson ended 2-for-5 with a pair of scores, and Autrey was 3-for-5 with three RBI.
A three-run sixth that featured seven LU batters heading to the plate put the game out of reach for Columbia as the Cards took a commanding 9-2 lead.
The Lions clawed back for three runs over the final two innings, but it was too little, too late as Lamar secured a third consecutive series victory.
The Cardinals and Lions will square off again on Sunday. First pitch is set for noon.