LSU-Eunice falls short  of NJCAA championship

ENID, Okla. — LSU-Eunice’s quest for back-to-back NJCAA national championships fell short.

Saturday night, in the championship game of the Division II World Series, Murray (Okla.) State scored two runs each in the second and third innings and held off the Bengals for a 4-3 victory to claim the national title.

“It was a tremendous game,” Bengals coach Jeff Willis said. “You had two teams play outstanding baseball tonight, and we just came out on the short end. We ran out of innings tonight.”

LSU-Eunice (52-10) finished as national runner-up after winning the championship last season.

“I’m proud of our guys and the way they competed,” Willis said. “Our guys have nothing to be ashamed of; there are a lot of people that would love to be in our situation right now. Hats off to our sophomores and what they brought to the table and everything they’ve been able to do for our program.”

The Bengals struck first in Saturday night’s game, using an RBI triple from Buddy McCoy to drive home Stefan Trosclair. McCoy scored on a wild pitch later in the inning as LSU-Eunice took a 2-0 lead.

Murray State answered, scoring two runs in the bottom of the second inning, chasing LSU-Eunice starter Chad Reeves from the game.

Trosclair connected for a two-out solo homer in the top of the third inning to give the Bengals a 3-2 lead.

Murray State pulled ahead for good in the bottom of the third on a pair of RBI singles.

Both teams were held scoreless over the final six innings.

Trosclair and Tyler Chapman led the way at the plate for the Bengals with two hits each, while Casey Rodrigue, Derek Herrington and McCoy each notched one hit.

Reeves allowed two runs on one hit and three walks in one-plus innings. Trae Hester tossed 5.2 relief innings, allowing two runs on six hits with two strikeouts and a walk.

Merrick Ardoin threw a perfect final 1.1 innings.

The Bengals had several chances to tie the score at 4. But they left the bases loaded in the fifth inning, then stranded Chapman in the sixth inning after his two-out double. Rodrigue was picked off in the seventh inning after singling, as well.

LSU-Eunice made two more scoring threats. Trosclair flew out to deep left field to open the eighth, and Chapman flew out to the warning track for the second out of the ninth.