The Lamar University baseball team continued its hit parade Saturday in a Southland Conference tournament championship-clinching game.
The Cardinals tallied a season-high 22 hits and rolled to a 17-7 victory against Texas State in the conference championship game at Whataburger Field in Corpus Christi. ...
The conference tournament championship is Lamar's third in the Southland, fifth overall and its first since 2004. By winning, the Cardinals are automatically qualified for the 64-team NCAA tournament. The tournament field will be announced at 11:30 a.m. Monday on ESPN.
Lamar entered the tournament as the No. 7 seed but won four straight tournament games. Lamar's last three victories came against teams against which Lamar failed to win in seven regular season games.
After scoring 53 runs in the first three days of the tournament — all wins — top-seeded Rice was stymied by the Southern Mississippi duo of Todd McInnis, the two-time C-USA Pitcher of the Year, and Scott Copeland, who hasn’t lost yet this season and was working on two days of rest.
After playing nearly flawlessly for three days, the Owls were merely mortal in a 7-4 loss. ...
Two errors, four unearned runs and 10 runners left on base mean that, for the only the second time in the last five years, the conference trophy doesn’t reside with Rice (38-21). The Golden Eagles (35-22), jubilant after Diego Seastrunk’s groundout to first base for the final out, earned the league’s automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.
Back in February when I watched my undefeated Cardinals whip the winless Owls, I figured the team was destined for big things. But they had a terrible regular season, while Rice returned to their normal, dominant selves. This upset victory in their conference tournament, and Rice's fade in theirs, was another reversal of fortune for both teams. Rice may still make the CWS as an at-large representative on the strength of a 38-21 record and their storied reputation.
And hopefully there will be some regional and super-regional games nearby to attend.