by Andrew J. FerraroDaily Cougar Staff
If you were to ask Cougars center fielder Dustin Carr who his lucky opponent was, he would probably say the Lamar Cardinals.
The junior from Mt. Vernon has just three home runs in his three-year collegiate career -- two of them have come against Lamar.
With the game tied at two in the bottom of the sixth inning, Carr lined his second home run of the season off Lamar reliever Scott Wood and sent the Cougars ahead for good for a win of 5-2 in front of a crowd of 207 at Cougar Field.
"I had been fooling with my swing lately and everything was working good tonight," Carr said. "We only gave up three hits tonight. The pitchers really did a great job."
Jon McDonald was the first of five Houston pitchers to take the mound, and in two innings of work, he yielded just one hit and one walk.
After Jeff Hampton came in and surrendered the only two runs that Lamar would score, three Cougar pitchers came in and gave up just one hit in the final six innings to preserve the victory.
Tommy Marik was the winning pitcher and improved his season record to 2-1 on the year.
After Robb Kirkland shut down the Cardinals in the seventh and eighth innings, Mark Manbeck came on in the ninth and picked up his fourth save of the year.
"I think everybody threw well tonight," coach Rayner Noble said. "Hampton had some problems throwing from the stretch, but aside from that, everybody did great. We had a great night."
In addition to great pitching, the Cougars pounded out 12 hits off of four Lamar pitchers.
First baseman Brandon Milam went 3-for-4, designated hitter Jason Schreiber was 2-for-4 with an RBI, and Mike Medrano went 2-for-4 and scored a run.
"I felt that I could have done a little bit better the last two times at bat tonight (0-for-2 after getting two straight hits)," Medrano said. "But I got two hits and scored a run. We played good defense tonight, and everything just clicked together."
The Cougars got things started in the bottom of the second inning with a two-out rally and got consecutive singles from Medrano, Milam and Schreiber, who drove in Medrano.
Trailing by one in the top of the fourth, the Cardinals got a single and two consecutive walks off Hampton.
Lamar first baseman Morgan Walker singled in Kevin Parker to tie the game at one, and right fielder Dean Smith then gave the Cardinals their only lead of the game, scoring Jason Klam on a fielder's choice.
The Cougars then tied the game in the bottom half of that same inning when they scored an unearned run on a wild throw to first by Lamar starter Wade White.
After the Carr home run in the sixth, the Cougars scored a pair of runs in the eighth on an RBI single by Bruce Rios and a fielder's choice by Carr.
"The key to winning games is getting great pitching and great defense," Medrano said. "We need to get people on base and drive them in with clutch hits."