The Cardinals’ shortstop came to bat with two men on and two outs in the third inning Thursday in what would become a 16-1 Academic Athletic Association win over second-place Lincoln (11-15-1, 9-3) on Thursday. And as the Mustangs met on the mound, Newman quietly entertained himself with Darth Vader’s “Imperial March” theme from “Star Wars.”
The senior eventually was hit by a pitch and came around to score in whatbecame a nine-run inning for Lowell. The foreboding musical introduction could have fit any of the Cardinals this day as nine players had hits and 11 reached base. It’s a scenario that’s becoming like a broken record for Lowell’s opponents this season as the Cardinals (17-5-1, 12-0 AAA) have outscored conference foes 181-13 and are starting to feel like a perfect league mark is within reach.
“That’s been the goal all season,” said pitcher Max Schumm, who allowed one run and two hits in four innings to improve to 9-1. “We feel like if we play well we’re going to be tough to beat.”
Schumm (2-for-4), catcher Louis Buchbinder (2-for-3) and center fielder Evan Brydon (2-for-5) all had multiple hits and leadoff man Newman and No. 2 hitter Mike Lazarus combined to reach base in all nine of their plate appearances. Eight of the nine Cardinals with at least 37 at-bats entering Thursday’s game were hitting better than .300, led by Newman (.486) and Brydon (.463).
“We have a new hitting coach, Adam Petke, and he’s done a great job working with us on situational hitting,” said Buchbinder, who had two triples in the third inning Thursday. “There’s a confidence we all have that everyone in the lineup is going to come through.”
Three of Lowell’s five losses came in the Bishop Gorman tournament in Las Vegas last month. The team was outscored 37-12 in the tournament, but the players and coach John Donahue said the experience of playing against outside competition has allowed the team to raise its game in AAA play.
Now, the Cardinals face Riordan, Terra Nova, San Mateo and St. Thomas More of San Jose in the next week before finishing out the AAA schedule April 30-May 1 with a two-game series vs. rival Washington.
“We have 10 hungry seniors, my assistant coaches are doing a great job and they all keep working hard,” Donahue said. “This has a chance to be a special group.”
Lowell 309 04 — 16 12 1
Lincoln 100 00 — 1 3 3
Leading hitters: Louis Buchbinder (Lo) 2×3, Max Schumm (Lo) 2×4, Evan Brydon (Lo) 2×5.
Mission 9, Marshall 6
Mission junior right-hander David Osborne struck out eight and allowed just two earned runs in his complete-game effort. — Staff report
Marshall 200 120 1 — 6 11 6
Mission 301 041 x — 9 6 6
M. Lopez, D. Irizarry (6) and Yee, Yu (2); David Osborne and Stefan Jackson. W—Osborne. L—Lopez.
Leading hitters: Lopez (Ma) 2×4, Fang (Ma) 4×4, Aharon Herbert (Mi) 2×3. HR—Lopez.