It started out as a pitchers duel on a windy, unseasonably cool night, but Baton Rouge Community College’s two runs in the eighth winning popped the top on a wild, drawn out finish.
LSU-Eunice ended Saturday night with the upper hand, scoring on a pair of infield singles in the 10th to take a 5-3 victory over the Bears at Pete Goldsby Field.
“It’s a shame that somebody had to lose this game,” LSUE coach Jeff Willis said. “Both teams played with a lot of heart and determination.”
LSUE (39-4) scored three unearned runs in the ninth to go up one, then squeezed across two more in the 10th on nearly identical hits by Chuck Tillery and Tyler Caruthers, who each ricocheted the ball off the mitt of BRCC reliever Jacob Knox to score a teammate from third.
It appeared BRCC (24-25) may have an answer when cleanup man Jesse Buratt lined a two-out single into the right-center field gap with two outs and two on.
But as Bond Babin held at third, LSUE right fielder Landon Thibodeaux threw out James Rachal rounding second for the game-ending out.
Patrick Michon (2-0) got the win despite allowing BRCC to strike for the tying run in the ninth. Chad Miller picked up the save. Knox (1-4) took the loss in relief of Kody Smith, who went the first nine innings.
The teams will play what amounts to a rubber game at 3 p.m. Sunday in Eunice, where BRCC started the three-game back-and-forth with a 10-4 win Friday night.
“It’s great competition,” BRCC coach L.J. Dupuy said. “They have an excellent bal lclub and we have very good ball club. It will be another good one tomorrow.”
Fans wore sweatshirts and sipped hot chocolate on a night that felt right for a high-school football game. The cool, windy air was only good for dueling lefty pitchers with similar first names.
LSUE sophomore Cody Boutte matched BRCC’s Smith for seven-plus innings, working efficiently and effectively to keep the game scoreless.
“Both starters threw extremely well,” Willis said. “It’s tough to see that neither got a decision as well as they pitched.”
Willis finally went to Will Bacon after Lee Elisar laid out at first to complete an infield single and put runners at the corners with one out in the eighth. Jacob Williams then shot a single through LSUE’s drawn-in infield, scoring BRCC freshman Matt Willis, who’d led off the inning with a single, and Elisar for a 2-0 lead.
The way Smith was pitching, it seemed like that would be plenty.
But after Stuart Turner knocked a double to right-center putting runners at second and third with one out, Burratt let Buddy McCoy’s grounder get by him at third and into left field. Two runs scored. Dalton Harrington then zipped a single under the glove of Cade LeBlanc at first, sending home Josh Sims with the go-ahead run.
The Bears weren’t done. Willis looped a single into right field with two outs in the BRCC ninth, scoring Bo Parker from second to force extra innings.
That set the stage for Tillery and Caruthers, who drove in the winning runs on the second and third infield singles of LSUE’s final at-bat.