Blinn uses explosive offense to defeat LSU Eunice on opening day, 8-3

BRENHAM, Texas – Blinn College softball used an explosive offense to get past Louisiana State University Eunice, 8-3, Saturday night in the second game of the doubleheader at Hohlt Park to open the season.

The Buccaneers had plenty of offense in the opening game after managing 19 hits, but were edged out 14-13 as both teams were able to claim a win in the doubleheader.

Blinn starts the season with a 1-1 record following the split.

"The most promising part of today was the offense," said Rick Church, Blinn head coach. "We knew we could score runs, so we just kept scoring and didn't let our foot off the gas pedal. We are going to be strong this year offensively."

Buccaneers totaled 33 hits in the two games played against LSU Eunice, the No. 1 ranked team in the NJCAA Division II Preseason Rankings.

LSU Eunice 14 – Blinn 13

Aside from the one-run lead that LSU Eunice held at the top of the first inning, the Buccaneers held the lead for the rest of the game until the visiting Bengals stormed back with five runs in the seventh inning that led to a 14-13 victory.

Gabriela Gomez led the Buccaneers with four RBIs, three hits and three runs scored. Amber Langston followed with two RBIs, three hits and two runs scored. Amy Alexander and Abby Olejniczak recorded one RBI each.

LSU Eunice was on the board first after Madison Monson hit a solo home run in the first inning for a 1-0 lead that didn't last long.

The top of Blinn's line-up answered back in the bottom of the inning as Morgan Gray, Sarah Cedillo and Langston each hit singles. Gray, who scored three runs in the game, scored off of Langston's base hit to even the score 1-1. Chelsea Armendariz loaded the bases for Gomez to unload with a first-pitch grand slam during her first plate appearance of the season.

"It felt great to hit a grand slam during my first at-bat of the season and on my first swing," Gomez said. "Everyone on this team is a great hitter and our goal is Utah. I really do feel confident that this team is going to go far."

Coerver scored the final run of the opening inning for Blinn after hitting a triple followed by one-run single from Olejniczak for Blinn to take a  6-1 lead.

Following a scoreless second inning, LSU Eunice scored three runs to sit behind Blinn 6-4 in the third inning.

Calli Birch scored a run in the bottom of the third inning, while Gomez scored a run in the bottom of the fourth inning for Blinn to pull away 8-4.

In the fifth inning, both teams scored four runs. After LSU evened the score 8-8, Langston doubled to send home Gray for Blinn to take back the lead. Two errors allowed the Buccaneers to score three more runs to hold a 12-8 lead going into the sixth inning.

In the sixth inning, both teams scored one run a piece. Gray scored the final run for Blinn on an error.

Trailing 13-9, LSU-Eunice managed to rally for five runs to bring Blinn's offense back out in the bottom of the seventh inning. Gomez led off with her third hit of the game, while Birch followed after being hit by a pitch, but both runners were left stranded in the one-run loss.

Blinn 8 – LSU Eunice 3

Blinn's defense came out strong in the second game against LSU Eunice.

Meghan Morris recorded the win after throwing six scoreless innings. She surrendered seven hits, two earned runs, while striking out two in seven innings.

"We focused a lot more on defense and pitching was great thanks to Meghan," Gomez said. "Defense was the main priority as far as what we needed to fix."

Offensively, the Buccaneers continued to be explosive, adding 14 more hits. Tori Alvarez-Lopez led the Buccaneers with three hits, two RBIs and one run scored, while Courtney Ogle scored two runs in the win 

The Buccaneers struck early to grab a 3-0 lead in the first inning. Alvarez-Lopez and Gray scored the first two runs after Langston hit a two-run double. Alivia Villareal drove in Langtston for the final run of the inning.

LSU Eunice scored its only three runs of the game in the third inning to even the score 3-3.

The score remained tied until the bottom of the fourth inning when a double by Alvarez-Lopez and a sacrifice fly by Gray allowed Ogle and Makalah Norman to score, respectively.

Leading 5-3, Blinn tacked on three more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Olejniczak and Alvarez-Lopez drove in the final runs of the game to give Blinn an 8-3 lead that the Buccaneers held onto for the remainder of the game.

Blinn will be back in action on Friday, Feb. 2 at the 2018 Galveston College Invitational. The Buccaneers will open the day against No. 5 Chipola College at 9 a.m. At 1 p.m., the Buccaneers will face Odessa College and then face Snead State Community College at 5 p.m.

Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 36 NJCAA national championships since 1987.