ENID, Oklahoma – The LSU Eunice baseball team advanced to the NJCAA Division II Championship for the eighth time in program history with an 11-6 victory over Kellogg CC on Wednesday at David Allen Memorial Ballpark.
That alone would make this a night to remember for Bengal fans.
However, the cherry on top was added as head coach Jeff Willis captured his 900th win as a head coach, all coming with LSU Eunice. Willis is one of the fastest to every reach the landmark, doing so in 19 years atop the helm, winning more than 82 percent (900-195) of his games.
The Bengals (49-6) were in a dog fight early as Beau Kirsch’s two-out, two-run single was sandwiched between a pair of Kellogg solo home runs. LSUE would break out ahead for good with Ayden Makarus bringing in Scott Jones on a sacrifice ground out.
LSUE would chip away over the middle innings, pushing the Bruins on the brink of another run rule. Hunter Tabb drove in three runs on a pair of doubles, Thomas Stevens brought home a run on a bunt and Scott Jones capped off the seven-run spurt with a two run double in the seventh inning, making it 9-2 Bengals.
The Bruins would take advantage of a rocky eighth, as LSUE would issue two walks and three hit batters as Kellogg crept back to within 9-6. The Bengals would minimize the damage as Scott Jones made a game saving play with a diving catch deep in center field. Austin Andrishok would work out of the jam to get LSUE to the final frame.
The Bengals added two valuable insurance runs as Tabb’s third double of the game drove in Brady Hebert and Jarrett McDonald sacrificed in Peyton LeJeune.
Tabb went 3-for-5 with four RBIs and a run scored to pace the Bengal offense.
Jake Hammond would secure the win, putting the Bruins up and down in order.
Lost in the back and forth of the game was another rock solid outing by Dalton Burrell. The big righty tossed six complete, giving up two earned runs off three hits and four walks while striking out four batters.
LSUE will meet Western Oklahoma for the fifth time at a NJCAA World Series, having last played in the 2015 Championship.
The best of three series will start on Thursday at 7:00 p.m.