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Harrington, Cardinals survive Cowboys
« on: May 02, 2009, 08:14:22 AM »
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Published May 01, 2009 11:39 pm -

Harrington, Cardinals survive Cowboys


By Cody Pastorella
The Port Arthur News

  Few pitchers ever experience the kind of season Eric Harrington is having this year. Add the fact that Lamar's ace is just a freshman (19 years and two months old), and his 7-0 record and 1.83 ERA becomes absolutely stunning.

    Harrington hurled another gem in Friday night's 3-2 win over the visiting McNeese State Cowboys. The former Port Neches-Groves star went 7.1 innings, allowing two runs on five hits, issued two walks and struck out seven.

    He cruised through the first seven innings. At that point, the Cowboys had collected just two hits, one in each of the first two innings.

    The eighth inning did not come so easy for Harrington, however. He allowed a lead-off single and then the second batter of the inning followed with an infield hit that third baseman Chris Dunkin could not make a play on. The throw was not in time, which set McNeese up with runners at first and second and nobody out.

    After Harrington picked up his seventh strikeout, the Cowboys produced back-to-back singles that allowed both Nick Eubanks and Matt Fontenot to score, knotting the game at 2-2.

   Ricky Testa, who allowed the second of those two hits, relieved Harrington after Sam Merrill's RBI single. Testa struck out Lee Orr for the second out and then forced Taylor Freeman into a routine grounder for the third out.

   No worries because Lamar immediately responded with a run in the bottom half of the eighth. The winning run was set up by a fielder's choice and an error, which landed Dunkin at second base. Then with two outs, Ryan Saldivar flared a single to the outfield, which pushed Dunkin across for the decisive run.

    Testa brought that momentum straight into the ninth by striking out the side to earn his fourth vicory in 2009. Harrington received his fourth no-decision on the season.

    With the win, Lamar improves to 31-17 overall and 15-10 in the Southland Conference. Friday's victory also marked the Cardinals' 800th at Vincent Beck Stadium.

    Lamar's weekend series with McNeese continues today with a 3 p.m. matchup in Lake Charles. The Cowboys own the season series with a 2-1 advantage.

    About his night, Harrington said he felt good, even in the eighth inning.

    "I felt good the whole game. My stuff was working and I never felt like I my tank was running low. We just made a little boo boo in the field in the eighth, then they put a couple runners on, got some momentum and then they took care of their opportunity," said Harrington, who went into Friday's start with the sixth best ERA in the country. His ERA rose to 1.83 from 1.75 on Friday, however.

    "I'm just glad we got the win," he said. "That's the most important thing. I want to do my part and give the team a chance to win but my record doesn't mean anything. The team's record is what matters. I'm really liking the winning streak we're on (seven games). Hopefully that continues."

    Lamar manager Jim Gilligan said he probably should have replaced Harrington a batter sooner.

    "He got that strikeout so I left him out there, even though he was missing his pitches. I left him in there a batter too long but Testa and Salvidar bailed me out," Gilligan said.

   "Eric did a great job getting us there though."

    Harrington added that he did not figure to be doing as well as he has done in his freshman campaign.

    "I didn't expect this year to be anything like this. I thought I'd come out and have a regular freshman year. Just get some innings here and there and play my part. I never expected this," he said.

    The Cardinals other two runs came in the fourth inning off of starting pitcher Tyler Davis. Steven Tucker started the inning off with a walk and then stole second after Dunkin went down swinging.

     Jeremiah Sammy then singled in Tucker for the first run of the game. Then with two outs, Quentin Luquette singled in Sammy. Lamar had seven total hits. There were no extra base hits for either team.

     Also for Lamar, Sammy, Saldivar and Tyler Link each produced two hits.

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