STEPHENVILLE – Tarleton was putting runners on base, but just could not hit with runners in scoring position as they fell to the Lamar Cardinals 4-1 at the Tarleton Baseball Complex in game one on Friday evening.
With Lamar (19-12, 8-5 WAC) plating a run each in the fourth and fifth innings to break out of the 1-1 tie, Tarleton (9-20, 5-8 WAC) needed an answer.
The Texans came to bat in the sixth down 3-1 and showed promise early. Dylan Kurahashi-Choy Foo singled down the left field line and Taylor Daniell followed that up with a single of his own through the right side of the Cardinal defense. Trace Morrison pushed the runners up a base with a well-placed sacrifice bunt and the Texans looked to be in business with runners on second and third with one out.
The Cardinals made two pitching changes that resulted in back-to-back strike outs from the Texans to escape the inning unscathed. Adam Davis and Max Mize each had a K in the inning.
Lamar extended its lead to 3-1 in the seventh with their second solo home run of the game. Second baseman Deric LeMontagne sent one deep out to right field to make it a two-run advantage.
Tarleton came back to bat determined to get some runs across in the seventh. London Green beat out a ground ball to second base for an infield single and Kemuel Thomas-Rivera followed that up with another infield single, this time to third base, and advanced to second on the throw in with Green moving to third.
Once again, the Texans had runners on second and third with one out. Once again, they struck out twice in a row to end the inning and squander another scoring opportunity.
Lamar added an insurance run in the eighth to make it 4-1 thanks to a Matthew McDonald RBI single to center field.
Jack Dallas (6) earned the save for Lamar pitching the ninth inning and fanning two Texans. Starting pitcher Braxton Douthit (4-1) picked up the win throwing 5.1 innings allowing just one run on seven hits, striking out two.
Lamar broke the scoring drought in the top of the fourth with the first of their solo home runs as first baseman Chase Kemp left one in the grass behind right field.
Tarleton answered with its lone run of the game to tie it at one in the bottom half with Choy Foo singling up the middle to score Green.
Tarleton starting pitcher Luke Baley (1-3) was in control for much of his outing. The right-handed pitcher was credited with the hard luck loss after throwing 6.0 innings allowing just two runs on five hits, striking out five against his former squad.
Zach Gagnon came on in relief of Baley and tossed 2.0 innings allowing two runs on four hits to go with two strikeouts. Beau Ross came in to pitch the ninth and forced a flyout to right field followed up by two strikeouts to hold the Cardinals.
The Texans were led offensively by Green, Bryan Aguilar and Choy Foo with two hits apiece.