Lamar struck for four runs in the second inning and Eric Harrington went the distance as the Cardinals stole the opener of a weekend three-game series, 7-4, from Stephen F. Austin on Thursday at Jaycees Field.
The `Jacks (12-17,4-6 SLC) got homers from Bobby Loveless, Jarid Scarafiotti and Fola Lajide, but SFA was just 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position, while the Cardinals (11-17, 4-9 SLC) - who entered the game with just a .239 average as a team - pounded out 14 hits and had six hits with runners in scoring position themselves.
SFA starter Cameron Gann was tagged with his first collegiate loss, allowing five runs in just over three innings after picking up complete-game wins each of the past two weeks. Reliever Justin Choate came in to weather the storm, allowing two runs in five innings himself.
Harrington picked up his first win of the season, moving to 1-5 on the year, after punching out seven hitters and not walking a batter in his second straight complete-game effort. He was on the losing end of a 2-1 decision a week ago at home to Southeastern Louisiana.
Gann stranded a pair of base runners in the first inning, striking out the side, before the Cardinals went to work in the second inning. Each of the first four Lamar hitters reached base with Garret Autrey putting the Cards in front 1-0 on a single to score Thomas Henk. Two more sacrifice flies managed to score runs before Darian Johnson doubled to left-center to plate another, putting Lamar up 4-0.
Loveless cut the lead in half with one out in the next inning on a mammoth homer to left-center, his fourth of the year and a two-run shot; however, after a double play eliminated a Lamar threat in the third, the Cardinals got those two runs back in the fourth on a sacrifice fly from Johnson and a single from Brad Picha.
Scarafiotti made it 6-3 in the bottom of the sixth with a one-out solo homer, his third of the year and 20th for his career, and Lajide hit a pinch-hit solo shot with two outs in the ninth, but that was all SFA would get on the day.
The `Jacks will try and even the series on Friday at 2:00 p.m. with Cody Priest on the mound, opposite Cardinal righty Carter Hahn.