Ruston 7, Bastrop 2

Lefthander Doc Wilkerson held Bastrop to five hits as Ruston won a 7-2 decision Thursday afternoon at Baron Ballpark.

Cleanup batter David Burkhalter deposited a leadoff home run over the center field wall in the top of the second to open the scoring.

Bastrop settled for an unearned run in the bottom of the frame after its first three batters reached safely.

Kyle Perkins reached on a two-base error, moved to third on Chase Cockrell's base hit and scored as Cade Cantrell was safe on the Bearcats' second miscue of the inning.

Undaunted, Wilkerson minimized the damage by striking out the next three batters. He retired a total of eight straight batters — six on punchouts — and 11 of the next 12, before running into a mini-jam in the sixth.

By then, the Bearcats had opened up a 7-1 lead.

B.J. Findley, representing the top of the Ruston batting order, legged out an infield single with one out in the third. Next, Ivan Wilson drew a free pass, setting up Cannon Brasuell's RBI single. Burkhalter then drove in his second run of the game with a sacrifice fly to right, padding the Bearcats' margin to 3-1.

Capitalizing on a pair of Bastrop fielding miscues, the Bearcats put the game away with four runs on three hits in the sixth. All four runs crossed with two outs.

Garrett Hipp reached first on a mishandled line drive with one down. One out later, Hipp advanced to second on a passed ball and scored on Lain Kranz's base hit up the middle.

Moments later, Sam Phillips reached on a mishandled ground ball, leaving runners at the corners.

Findley's RBI single plated Kranz, before Wilson unloaded a two-run triple off the left field wall, giving Ruston a commanding 7-1 lead.

Wilkerson carried a one-hitter into the sixth, before yielding three straight hits to start the inning.

Morgan Edmonds singled to left, advanced 90 feet on a wild pitch and scored on Dollar Ridgell's base hit to right. Edmonds was originally called out an home plate and Ridgell was thrown out at second after the play at the plate for an apparent double play. However, the call at home plate was overturned following a conference by the umpires on the grounds that the ball popped out of the catcher's mitt. Ruston coach Toby White did not come out to dispute the call.

With one out and the bases empty, Kyle Perkins scorched an opposite-field double to right, but could advance no further.

Wilkerson pitched around a leadoff single to Gavin Pollock and a two-out walk to Ty Cantrell in the seventh.

Wilkerson struck out eight and walked two in the complete game victory.

Findley, Brasuell and Hipp collected two singles apiece to pace the Bearcats' nine -hit output. Burkhalter homered, Wilson tripled and Kranz singled as Ruston improved to 17-4.

Perkins doubled, and Edmonds, Ridgell, Cockrell and Pollock singled for the Rams (7-11).

Pollock went the distance in a losing cause, allowing seven runs (three earned), while striking out two and walking one.

Concluding the home-and-home, non-conference series, the two teams play a JV/varsity double header in Ruston on Saturday, starting at 11:30 a.m.