ENID, Okla. – Slate Fuller belted a two-out walk-off home run to deliver No. 1 LSU Eunice a thrilling 5-3 win over Parkland College to win the NJCAA Division II National Championship. It was the Bengals’ sixth national crown, the most in NJCAA Division II history.
LSUE (59-6) was down to its last out in the ninth inning after Brent Hebert opened the inning with a lead-off single. Fuller’s two-run home run over the left center wall broke a tie game and was his third of the NJCAA World Series.
The Bengals trailed for the majority of the second half of the ballgame until Koi Westbrook gave LSUE new life. The Tournament MVP laced a two-out single to score Bren Faulk, tying the game 3-3. Cameron Horton started the rally with a two-out walk followed by Jacob Richard being hit by a pitch.
Westbrook earned World Series top honors after batting .375 over LSUE’s five games, driving in nine runs on six hits and two home runs. The Carencro native was also named the Defensive Most Valuable Player of the Tournament. He finished 2-for-4 in the Bengals’ final game, driving in that one run while stealing two bases.
LSU Eunice started out the game red hot thanks to ace Zach Hester. The Bengals starting pitcher retired the first nine Parkland batters, striking out seven in that span. Hester tallied nine punch outs in his eight-inning effort, scattering three runs on three hits and three walks. Hester increased his season total to 133 strikeouts, second most in a single-season at LSUE behind Ben Braymer’s 138 in 2015.
Hester was named the World Series’ Most Valuable Pitcher after giving up just two earned runs in 16 innings of work, striking out 23 batters.
The Bengals went ahead 2-0 in the second after scoring on a wild pitch and a Jacob Richard run scoring single.
Parkland responded with a Trystin Raikes two-run double in the fourth inning and Max Down solo home run a frame later, taking a 3-2 edge.
Hester blanks the Cobras his final three innings before being relieved by Justin Barton. The sophomore picked up the win after tossing a perfect ninth inning, striking out two batters.
Fuller and Westbrook were the lone Bengals to tally multi-hit games in LSUE’s eight-hit output.
Zach Hester, Jacob Richard and Mason Templet were all named to the All-Tournament team.
Courtesy: (Story/Photo LSU Eunice)