Two runs never looked so insurmountable after Episcopal scored in the fourth inning.
With ace right-hander Chris Thibodaux they were as good as gold.
Thibodaux limited Northlake Christian to one hit and the two runs Episcopal pushed across stood up in a 2-0 victory Friday in the first game of a Class 2A best-of-three regional series.
The two teams meet again in Game 2 at 11 a.m. with Episcopal senior Clayton Talbot facing Northlake Christian’s ace Sean Tweedy.
“My arm felt great, better than ever,” Thibodaux said. “My pitches were working. They were just putting the ball on the ground and my defense was making the plays.”
Thibodaux (10-1) was nearly flawless in registering the complete-game victory. He hit two batters in the fourth, allowed Justin Estrada’s single in the fifth with the Wolverines getting another runner on in the seventh on an error.
Thibodaux recorded his fifth shutout of the season and extended his streak of scoreless innings to 30. It mark just the second time Northlake Christian (20-7) was shutout this season.
“We knew it was going to be a challenge,” Episcopal coach Travis Bourgeois said. “We’re fortunate Chris was on top of his game. He’s been that way all year for us. When he’s on the mound there’s no secret what our level of play becomes.”
Thibodaux retired the first 10 batters he faced until hitting Logan Stevens and Tweedy in consecutive at bats. He came back to get Diego Sanchez to fly out to Brennan Folse in shallow right field and caught Buddy Kyle looking at strike three.
“I tried to throw a slider inside on their two lefties and missed my spots,” Thibodaux said. “I wasn’t really worried for the next two batters. I was throwing strikes and letting my defense work for me and they did.”
Thibodaux struck out five and threw 59 of 85 pitches for strikes.
After having a runner thrown out at the plate to end the second, Episcopal capitalized on its next scoring opportunity against losing pitcher Logan Stevens.
Chris Beckman Jr., who signed with Nicholls State on Friday, led off the fourth with a single and Wayne Stabiler, who was attempting to sacrifice, reached safely with a single when Stevens slipped off the mount trying to cover the bunt.
Matthew Garrett sacrificed both runners over and Matthew Distefano drove in Beckman with a sacrifice fly to center. Cliff Daigle, who had two of his team’s six hits, then beat out an infield single that scored Grant Bergeron.
“Your seven innings away regardless of advancing,” Bourgeois said. “There’s a lot of baseball left to be played and that’s the fun thing about a series.”