Top-ranked Bengals sweep Wharton
By Tom Dodge
The Louisiana State University at Eunice Bengals continued their winning ways with a doubleheader 11-1, 7-4 sweep over Wharton Community College on Monday in Eunice.
The nationally top-ranked Bengals (38-8) have won 13 of the last 15 games and have seven games left in the regular season including a double header against Pearl River Community College set for 2 p.m. Saturday.
“I like the way we have played in the last four games,” LSUE head coach Jeff Willis said. “We went through a lull which is understandable when you play a 56-game schedule.
“We were really trying way too hard,” he continued. “Baseball is not a “try harder” sport like football. You cannot play baseball with a football mentality.
“You have to relax and quit trying and let your ability take over.”
LSUE jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the opener as Boomer Blanchard and Delta Cleary both scored on a single by Matt Creel. Creel later scored on a single by Perry Smith.
Wharton closed the gap to 3-1 in the top of the third inning when Josh Fisher walked and scored on a single by Jake Koehl.
The Bengals built on their lead with four runs in the bottom of the fourth stanza as the LSUE defense slammed the door on Wharton.
Kellen Bozeman was hit by a pitch and scored on a wild throw, while Tyler Slocum crossed home plate on a sacrifice by Brady Bourque.
Smith singled and scored a sac fly by Nate Peterson. Chase Blanchard singled, and after stealing second and advancing to third on a wild throw, the Bengal left fielder scored on Boomer Blanchard’s single for a 7-1 advantage.
LSUE added a run in the bottom of the fifth when Creel tripled to deep right centerfield and scored on Slocum’s single.
A three-run surge in the bottom of the sixth inning sealed the win for the Bengals, who scored 11 runs on 11 hits.
Corey Lopez remained undefeated (8-0) with the win as he struck out five, walked three and allowed one run on three hits over six innings.
Boomer Blanchard, Chase Blanchard and Creel all went 2-for-3 with two RBI for the Bengals.
LSUE jumped to a 2-0 lead in the finale, sparked when Cleary singled and scored on Bozeman’s double to centerfield. Creel singled and scored on Slocum’s sacrifice for the critical two-run cushion.
Wharton closed the gap to 2-1 on a solo home run by Bryan Minzenmeyer to open the top of the second inning.
The Bengals responded with a run in the bottom of the third when Creel singled and crossed home on a sacrifice by Bozeman for a 3-1 advantage.
The Pioneers continued to battle, scoring a run in the top of the fourth when Minzenmeyer walked and scored on a single by Max Herschap to close the gap to 3-2.
But LSUE added three insurance runs in the bottom of the frame to forge ahead, 6-2.
Wharton made the game interesting in the top of the fifth inning as the Pios scored two runs to close the gap to 6-4.
Starter Brandon Chambers remained undefeated (5-0) on the mound as he struck out six, walked five and allowed four runs on six hits. Cleary went 3-for-4 with four RBI, while Bozeman was 1-for-3 with two RBI in the win.