LSU-Eunice softball team wins opener

CLINTON, Miss. — The LSU-Eunice softball team is off to a strong start at the National Junior College Athletic Association with a 19-1 victory over Mercyhurst North East (Pa.) Thursday and one of its players winning the a home run derby contest Wednesday night.

The LSUE softball team routed Mercyhurst North East 19-1 and advanced to play a familiar foe Friday.

The Lady Bengals (59-5) scored six runs in the third inning before a 13-run outburst in a fourth inning that saw them send 20 batters to the plate.

LSU Eunice now advances to tangle with Jones County Junior College, who came from behind to defeat Cowley County by a 3-2 score Thursday.

“It was a one sided game in the end, but their girl could pitch. We made adjustments and challenged them by bunting. They panicked, started throwing the ball away, and the next thing you knew, we started hitting the ball well. I thought it was a closer game than it really was,” LSUE coach Andy Lee said.

In the middle of the offensive barrage, Kelsey Hollier collected two RBIs to move her total to 74 RBIs, setting an LSU-Eunice single season RBI record, passing Haley McCall’s 73 RBIs in 2011.

In all, the Lady Bengals saw nine players record hits, including two each from Hollier, Brooke Thomas, Taylor Simon and Brooke Clark.

On Wednesday LSUE freshman Emily Nolan connected on 10 home runs over three rounds, with her last coming in sudden death, to win the NJCAA National Championship Home Run Derby.

Nolan connected for six home runs in her opening round of 10 swings to advance to the final as the field narrowed from 16 to four competitors.

In the final round, Nolan hit three homers out of five swings, tying with a competitor from Sauk Valley Community College and sending the two into a sudden death swing-off for the title.

After seeing her opponent miss on her first attempt, Nolan sent her final home run of the night over the wall in right-center field wall to clinch the title.

This season, Nolan has collected 10 total home runs, including three at last weekend’s NJCAA Region 23 Tournament. She also has 15 doubles, 57 RBIs and a .399 batting average.

Last year, the Lady Bengals’ Tina Schulz won the home run derby.