KILGORE -- Bullard coach Judd Guidry stressed the importance of finishing games to his team last week as the Panthers were set to embark on the second half of the District 16-3A season.

Sophomore pitcher Zach Eschberger did just that Friday night, tossing a three-hit shutout with 11 strikeouts in Bullard's 6-0 win over Kilgore at Driller Park.

The win kept Bullard (16-5, 6-1) one game behind district-leading Gilmer with five games remaining.

Bullard scored three runs in the third inning, and played add-on after that to sweep the season series from the Bulldogs, who fell to 3-4 in 16-3A.

"Our ability to finish the game, that has been something we haven't really done this year," Guidry said. "We've kinda gotten some leads on people and kinda coasted through the last few (innings). Tonight, I think we kinda took that step forward. We addressed it last week, and I thought they did a good job of taking that step and moving in the right direction."

Eschberger was in control throughout. The left-hander struck out the side in the third and fourth inning, allowed just three singles and walked three.

"Zach did a great job," Guidry said. "He competed well, threw a lot of strikes and gave us chances to make outs. Whoever's on the mound, that's what we expect out of them."

Holden Bryant, who walked twice and was hit by a pitch, scored on a passed ball to give Bullard a 1-0 in the third. Trevor Rumbelow came through with a two-run single later in the inning.

The Panthers added runs in the fourth, fifth and seventh. Cody Goode singled home Jesse Duplechn in the fourth, JP Hendrix scored on a wild pitch in the fifth and Jacob Provencher's RBI single in the seventh knocked in Bryant.

Q. Brewster took the loss for Kilgore, allowing five runs (four earned) on six hits in 4 1/3 innings. He struck out one and walked four.

Bullard returns to action Tuesday at home against Gladewater, while Kilgore travels to Spring Hill on Saturday.


District 16-3A Baseball

At Driller Park, Kilgore

Bullard 6, Kilgore 0

Bullard         003    110    1    --    6    7    1
Kilgore         000    000    0    --    0    3    1

BUL: Zach Eschberger and Trevor Rumbelow. KIL: Q. Brewster, Joseph Shepherd (5) and Cooper Coldiron.

WP -- Eschberger.
LP -- Brewster.