No. 6 Gulf Coast knocks off No. 2 LSU-E

No. 6 Mississippi Gulf Coast capped off a great weekend at the Rush Invitational in Meridian on Sunday by claiming two more victories, including taking down No. 2 LSU Eunice 5-1 in the finale.


The Bulldogs (10-0) rallied from two deficits against Parkland to beat the Cobras 9-4 in the morning game.


They got more hot hitting from Briana Shores (So, Richland/Richland), and a dominant pitching performance from Kristen Cade (So, Harrison Central/Saucier) against the Bengals.


"They had a good weekend," Gulf Coast coach Eric Neel said. "We got to see some adversity. We had some tough games. We had to really scrap to win Game 1 this morning. We found out a little bit about ourselves."


Shores went 4-for-6 with two doubles both days of the tournament. She finished with 10 RBI.


"She's having a phenomenal year," Neel said. "One of our most consistent people getting the big hits."


Gulf Coast broke a pitchers' duel against LSU-E with two runs in the third. The Bulldogs got only seven hits, but bunched three of them on consecutive at-bats in the inning. Caroline Moore (Fr, Maryville/Maryville, Tenn.) singled and was doubled home by Alexis Laughlin (Fr, East Central/Hurley), who was driven in on single by Rakeya Travis (Fr, Poplarville/Poplarville).


LSU-E touch Cade for a run in the fourth on a leadoff triple and a one-out single, but the Bengals didn't get another hit the rest of the game.


Cade struck out 14 Bengals without allowing a walk. She allowed just three hits.


"That's the most dominant I've seen her all year.," Neel said. "She threw a lot of strikes, and it was probably the hardest I've seen her throw all year. She competed hard, and did a good job of putting them away in good counts."


The Bulldogs bunched their other four hits in the sixth, with freshmen A'Mya Stevens (Fr, Northeast Jones/Laurel) and Hannah Herrington (Fr, Enterprise/Enterprise) providing two-out, RBI doubles for some breathing room.


Against Parkland, the Bulldogs erased a 3-2 deficit in the third when Rakeya Travis (Fr, Poplarville/Poplarville) hit her fifth homer of the young season to tie it.


After falling behind 4-3, Laughlin tied it with an RBI double in the fifth, followed by a two-run single by Shores. Steven slugged her first homer of the season in the sixth, and Laughlin and Shores drove in another two runs in the seventh to ice it.


Stevens also got the victory, pitching four innings of one-hit relief.


LSU Eunice will come to Perk on March 3 for a rematch. First pitch will be at 1 p.m.


"It's a good win for early in the year," Neel said. "Now we face them for a doubleheader the next time we play. We get to enjoy it for a short time, but then we have to figure out how to beat them again."


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Don Hammack
Sports Information Director
Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College