LSU-Eunice opens softball nationals with comeback win in extra innings

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OXFORD, Ala. – After a nearly two-hour lightning delay, Abby Touchet stroked the fourth pitch she saw into the outfield, sending her LSU Eunice teammates into a frenzy as the Bengals walked off with a 2-1 victory over Illinois Central in nine innings at the NJCAA Softball National Tournament on Tuesday.

The Bengals (35-20) move on in winner’s bracket play where they will meet three-seed Louisburg College on Wednesday at 6:00PM at Choccolocco Park.

“We constantly tell our young ladies that they are a bunch of fighters and tonight’s game was another great example of that,” LSU Eunice softball head coach Meghan Collins said. “Our team believes in themselves and constantly finds ways to win.”

LSUE was able to produce the winning run after Jessi Cary drew a lead-off walk in the bottom of the ninth. Following Cary’s walk, officials halted the game as lightning moved into the Oxford area for nearly two hours.

When the game resumed, Cary was able to steal second base on a failed bunt attempt by Touchet before the sophomore duo swapped places on Touchet’s double a pitch later.

It was a classic pitching duel between LSU Eunice ace Chloe Bennett and Illinois Central pitcher Kiersten Manning. Bennett struck out 13 batters over the nine innings she pitched, giving up just two hits and one unearned run with five walks.

The Cougars were first to strike as Bennett worked in early traffic. ICC scored its only run of the game on a passed ball, leaving the bases loaded. Bennett would catch fire after that rocky first, not giving up a hit the final seven innings of action, striking out the side in order in the ninth.

LSUE finally got its offense going in the sixth inning as Madison Prejean would put two Bengals on with a two-out single to left field. Mikayla Cashdollar loaded the bases after taking a pitch off her leg with pinch runner Taylor Palmer scoring the game tying run off a wild pitch during Abby Touchet’s at bat.

The Bengals outhit the Cougars 4-2 in the game.

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