Photo: Kim Brent / The Enterprise
It’s a busy time for the Lamar University athletic department, with the Cardinals’ basketball, baseball and softball teams all entering important parts of their respective schedules.
Lamar’s men’s basketball program is prepping for its season finale, which could make or break the Cardinals’ conference tournament chances. Unfortunately for the Lady Cardinals, their Southland tournament fate has already been decided due to a lengthy losing streak.
Meanwhile, the Lamar baseball and softball teams will get one last non-conference tune-up before beginning Southland play this weekend.
Davis voices confidence in pitching staff
After watching his team put together a three-game sweep of Akron last weekend at Vincent-Beck Stadium, Lamar baseball coach Will Davis was quick to point out the improvement of his primary starting pitchers.
Lamar’s completely revamped rotation of Trevin Michael, Zach Bravo and Austin Faith were all in strong form during the Akron series, none of them allowing more than three runs in their starts.
Davis hopes the impressive pitching is a sign of things to come. Although Michael threw a complete game to start the series, Davis specifically singled out the development of Bravo and Faith.
“Austin returned to himself in this game,” Davis said on Sunday after completing the sweep. “He attacked them from the outset with his fastball and was overpowering them. He and (Zach) Bravo will just get better and better because they’re so talented, and it is a bit of a leap from the junior college level to the Division I level. As they learn that and adjust, they’ll just continue to improve.”
Lamar (6-5) will be back home Wednesday against Prairie View A&M at 6 p.m. The Cardinals will start Southland play with a three-game series at Stephen F. Austin this weekend.
Softball looks to limit errors in last SLC tune-up
Lamar’s softball team will soon start its conference schedule as well. Before that happens, the Cardinals will look to rebound from a rough last weekend when they host Louisiana Tech Wednesday.
Currently at 8-8, Lamar lost two games last Saturday in a doubleheader against Texas Southern. The Cardinals committed a combined six errors in those losses — sticking to a troubling trend for Lamar.
The team has committed 21 errors through 16 games, an uptick from the 54 total errors all of last season.
Offensively, preseason all-Southland pick Jade Lewis has been Lamar’s best hitter. She’s batting a team-high .471 with seven doubles and six RBIs.
Lamar is 0-6 all-time against Louisiana Tech. First pitch on Wednesday is set for 6 p.m.
Everything still at stake for men’s basketball
Lamar’s conference tournament hopes will come down to its last game of the regular season Saturday when the Cardinals host McNeese. It’s not a must-win, but it’s pretty close.
A loss at Stephen F. Austin this past weekend left Lamar still tied for fifth in the Southland standings, but the Cardinals could fall out of the top eight with a loss and a few tiebreakers going against them.
Lamar allowed a season-high 95 points in that loss to SFA, after which coach Tic Price expressed his desire to tighten up the transition defense with another high-scoring team awaiting the Cardinals this weekend.
McNeese (14-15, 9-9) will come to Beaumont Saturday with its season on the line as well. The Cowboys scored 91 points in a home loss to Lamar last month, being out-dueled by a career performance from Davion Buster.
Although Lamar’s loss to SFA snapped a four-game win streak, the Cardinals are still confident they can make a push into the conference tournament.
“You can never live in the past,” senior V.J. Holmes said after Saturday’s loss. “It’s always next game up for us, and our next game is a pretty big one.”
Lady Cards look to end season on high note
It hasn’t been the first season Aqua Franklin hoped for when she took over Lamar’s women’s basketball team. An eight-game losing streak leaves Lamar’s last regular-season game against McNeese (5-22, 2-16) this weekend meaningless in the Southland standings.
The Lady Cardinals will miss the conference tournament for the first time in 15 years, but Franklin still thinks they have a lot to play for this weekend.
That motivation comes from Lamar’s three seniors — Amber Vidal, Ashlan Miles and Brianna Laidler. Putting an end to the long losing streak would be a good way to send off the senior group, Franklin said.
“It’s a game that they can tell their grandkids ‘I went out with a win in my last game at Lamar,’” Franklin said. “We want to send them out the right way.”
Don’t miss a thing: Sign up for our Daily Headlines newsletter.