EUNICE — An offensive explosion in the first inning helped the LSU-Eunice baseball team jump out to an early lead, but the Bengals had to hold on in the closing innings to defeat North Lake College 11-10 in the first game of the season Friday night.
The Bengals (1-0), preseason No. 1 in the NJCAA Division II National Poll, batted around in the first inning against the visitors, highlighted by RBI doubles by Landon Thibodeaux (1-2, 2 BB) and Gerrett Deschamp (1-4, BB) before Tyler Chapman (1-4) hit a grand slam on the first pitch of his collegiate career.
“You win a game 11-10, and you’re happy to get a win, and you don’t draw it up like it happened,” head coach Jeff Willis said.
“We were able to give some backup guys, and guys trying to earn some spots, they got some opportunities. Early in the year you are giving guys opportunities hoping to see different guys step up,” Willis added.
LSU-Eunice finished with 10 hits from eight different players. Adam Angelle (2-3, BB) and Buddy McCoy (2-2, BB) were the only players to notch a two-hit night, while Angelle and McCoy joined Thibodeaux, Deschamp and Chapman, along with Evan Powell (1-3) and Adam Cagnina (1-1, 2 BB), to each register an RBI.
Up 7-0 after one inning, the Bengals saw starter Brady Domangue sit down North Lake (0-1) in order in the first two innings before navigating through the third inning and ending his limited pitch-count night in the fourth with another easy inning.
Domangue allowed one run on one hit and walked three batters while striking out five North Lake batters while grabbing his first win of the season.
After adding single runs in the second, fourth and sixth, the Bengals held a 10-1 advantage after five innings, but saw North Lake score one run in the sixth, five in the eighth and three in the ninth – leaving two runners stranded at the end of the game — to come to the final score and make things interesting.
The Bengals brought in Chad Reeves after Domangue, with the freshman totaling three innings and allowing one run on two hits and five strikeouts out of the bullpen. After Reeves, four different relievers pieced together the final two innings for LSU Eunice.
The Bengals and North Lake continue their three-game set on Saturday at 1 p.m.