Kirkpatrick vaults LSUE baseball to Region 23 opening win

FULTON, Miss. — Austin Kirkpatrick lifted a fifth inning grand slam to help No. 1 LSU Eunice overcome an early four-run hole on the way to an 8-6 Region 23 Tournament opening win over No. 9 Northwest Mississippi on Wednesday at Roy Cresap Field.

The Bengals (49-6) advanced to winner’s bracket play and will face the winner of host Itawamba and Mississippi Gulf Coast at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Kirkpatrick hammered a 1-2 slider to left center to give LSUE its first lead of the game, 7-5. It was the captain’s third home run of the season and Kirkpatrick’s first since March 9.

Dane Dixon would shake off a four-run second inning to put in one of his best statistical outings of the season. Dixon (W, 13-0) struck out five consecutive batters after that frame, in route to a career-high 12 strikeouts. The redshirt sophomore tossed 6.1 innings, scattering five earned runs off nine hits and one walk.

Tod Gauthe bridged 1.2 innings of work before Landon Clifton picked up his seventh save of the season. Clifton struck out two batters to put down the Rangers in order in the ninth. The LSUE pitchers combined to strike out 16 Northwest batters on the day while yielding two walks.

LSUE softball wins opener at Region 23 tourney

POPLARVILLE, Miss. — Top-ranked LSU Eunice used a four-run frame and another complete game jewel by Jensen Howell to take down Pearl River, 7-2, on Wednesday at the Region 23 Tournament. 

The Bengals (45-6) set up a "Marbles Game" with Itawamba CC on Thursday.

 Mallory Little pushed the Bengals ahead for a good with a sixth inning two-run home run to give LSUE the final margin of 7-2.  Little was the lone LSUE batter with a multi-hit game, going 2-for-4 on the night.

 Jensen Howell tossed her 10th seven inning complete game of the season, giving up two unearned runs off three LSUE errors.  Howell (W, 19-3) gave up three hits and two walks while striking out nine batters.