EUNICE — Madison Nickens jumped on a pair of fastballs in two games Sunday to provide key hits in an LSU-Eunice weekend baseball sweep of Delgado Community College.
Nickens’ eighth-inning solo homer in the first game of a doubleheader was the final run in the Bengals’ 8-3 victory.
In the second contest, Nickens delivered a two-out single in the bottom of the seventh that scored the winning run as LSUE took a 2-1 win.
LSUE’s doubleheader victory Sunday followed Saturday’s two victories over Delgado in games played at New Orleans’ Kirsch Rooney Stadium, pushing the Bengals’ win streak to 11 games.
The series also featured two junior-college teams that began the weekend nationally ranked in the top five of their divisions.
Delgado (21-9) was ranked fifth in Division 1 of the National Junior College Athletic Association. The Bengals (29-6) were fourth in Division II.
Delgado baseball coach Joe Scheuermann said his team was bothered by the lack of timely hitting all weekend.
The Bengals, Scheuermann said, also featured some effective starting pitching.
“We didn’t do much of anything to brag about. We had chances in all four games to drive in the winning runs, and we didn’t get it done,” Scheuermann said.
“(The Bengals) also have great pitching for a team at this level. In the first game (on Sunday) their starter (Mitch Sewald) was throwing 94 and 96 miles per hour. You don’t see that very often (in junior college). With that pitching, they do enough offensively to win with their situational hitting, which is something we didn’t do,” Scheuermann said.
LSUE coach Jeff Willis said his starters threw well in all four series games.
“I thought (the starters) set the tone in both games Saturday. Then it was the game (Sunday),” Willis said.
LSUE 8, Delgado 3: Sewald, a TCU commitment, struck out five and allowed six hits during the eight innings he pitched.
Stone’s first-inning double was the key hit as the Bengals took a 1-0 lead.
LSUE followed with another run in the second after Trey Caswell and Janson Bourque singled consecutively.
The Dolphins countered with a three-run third. Cole Freeman, Cody Ducote and Bryce Adams all singled. Another base hit by Owen McGee drove in two runs.
Brennan Bozeman, Stone and first baseman Steve Sensley all walked in the fifth inning and two runs scored off an infield error.
Caswell was the Bengals’ top hitter in the second game with a pair of singles.
LSUE 2, Delgado 1: Nickens, a former St. Amant High standout, had the only hit off Delgado starter Jonathan Ebersole.
Ebersole, who struck out seven Bengals, walked two batters in the bottom of the seventh, including Bourque, the Bengals’ ninth batter.
Nickens, who has committed to play at Maryland, said Ebersole got into serious trouble after walking Bourque with two outs.
“The key at-bat there in the seventh was the ninth hole. (Bourque) and (eighth batter Caswell) fought and battled to get on base.
“Then I got up, and (Ebersole) threw me a fastball. I was able to get on top of it and hit it up the middle,” Nickens said.
“I really feel sorry for (Ebersole). He gives up one hit, and it drives in the winning run,” Scheuermann said.
LSUE led 1-0 after shortstop Bozeman led off the fourth with a walk. Ebersole then walked left fielder Cade Stone , and Bozeman scored on a sacrifice bunt by designated hitter Sam Walley.
The Dolphins tied the game in the sixth when first baseman Adams drove a Ben Braymer pitch over the left-field fence.
Braymer, a former Catholic High-Baton Rouge standout, pitched all seven innings of the second game.
During the first five innings, Braymer struck out eight and allowed only two hits before Adams’ homer.