No. 4 Pearl River blasts eight home runs, rallies past Co-Lin
WESSON, Miss. — Pearl River baseball coach Michael Avalon turned 37 Tuesday.
His team decided to celebrate his birthday by hitting eight home runs and sweeping Co-Lin 20-11 and 9-5.
The No. 4 Wildcats (17-2, 4-0 MACJC) exploded on offense after digging themselves into holes in both games.
"This is my 13th year coming here and every time it feels like it's the same story," Avalon said. "You have got to score runs, you have got to keep competing and you have got to grind it out. They're a tough, tough ball club."
Game 1: PRCC 20, Co-Lin 11
The Wildcats got off to an explosive start in game one, as Matt Taylor (Raleigh) and Austen Izzio (Carriere; Pearl River Central) hit back to back home runs to give the Wildcats a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning.
The Wolves (9-6, 2-2 MACJC) struck back with a two-run inside the park homer to tie the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the first.
It was in the next three innings where Co-Lin really flexed its muscles as they built up a 10-3 lead.
Izzio put Pearl River on the board once again in the top of the third, scoring on a passed ball closing the Wildcat deficit to 5-3.
However, it wasn't until the top of the sixth inning where the Wildcat bats really got hot.
Izzio started the rally with a three-run triple that scored Shemar Page (Raleigh), Britt McKay (Wiggins; Ocean Springs) and Taylor.
Noah Barron (Hoover, Ala.) followed that up with a RBI single to score Izzio.
With only one out in the inning, Dexter Jordan (Hattiesburg) stepped into the batters' box and came up huge with a three-run homer to tie the game 10-10.
Deyton Lingle (Lake) scored the last run of the inning for the Wildcats on a dropped third strike, giving Pearl River an 11-10 advantage.
Co-Lin tied the game back up in the bottom of the sixth when the Wolves stole home.
Kasey Donaldson (Gulfport; West Harrison) gave the Wildcats back the lead in the top of the seventh with a two-run double to right field that scored Barron and Wiley Cleland (Columbia; Columbia Academy).
Jordan followed that up with his second home run of the game that was crushed out of center field to score two runs and give Pearl River a 15-11 lead.
Dexter Jordan (center) hit two home runs to help Pearl River defeat Co-Lin 20-11, Tuesday. (LUCAS CALVERT/ CO-LIN ATHLETICS)
Donaldson got in on the fireworks action with a two-run bomb to give the Wildcats a 17-11 lead in the top of the eighth.
Taylor scored Lingle and Page in the top of the ninth with a RBI single and then scored himself on a passed ball to give Pearl River a 20-11 advantage.
"That's the thing about our offense, it feels like every guy in our lineup can beat you," Avalon said.
The Wildcats collected 18 hits, including 11 that went for extra bases.
Taylor, Barron, Jordan and Cleland shared the team lead for hits with three each.
Donaldson and Izzio shared the team lead for RBIs with four.
Reid Reynolds (Heidelberg; Northeast Jones) picked up his first win of the season for Pearl River, pitching 1 2/3 innings while allowing only one hit and one walk and striking out two.
Game 2: PRCC 9, Co-Lin 5
The second game saw the Wildcats get down early once again as Co-Lin scored the first four runs of the contest in the first two innings.
The Wildcats clawed back starting in the top of the third inning when Barron hit a two-run shot out of left field to cut the the lead to two.
The top of the fifth saw Pearl River flex its muscles when Luke Harper (Meridian; Northeast Lauderdale) led off the inning with a solo homer.
Jordan worked a bases loaded walk to tie the game at 4-4.
Reece Ewing (Mobile, Ala.; Faith Academy) scored the last runs in the top of the fifth by breaking the game wide open with a grand slam to give the Wildcats an 8-4 lead
Pearl River scored its last run of the game in the top of the sixth when Cleland swiped home on a double steal to put the Wildcats up 9-4.
Co-Lin tacked on one more run in the seventh to cut the deficit to 9-5.
Barron once again led the team in hits with three while Ewing led the team in RBIs with four.
Colin Danley (Lucedale; East Central) picked up the win for the Wildcats.
His fourth of the year.
"I walked out to the mound before he gave up four runs and told him he had to go find it but what I loved about that is he didn't pout or quit after and he put up four zeros in the next four innings," Avalon said.
Danley gave up four earned runs on four hits and three walks while striking out nine in six inning.
Jerod Meggs (Kosciusko) finished the game in relief of Danley.
Meggs gave up one earned run on one hit and one walk while striking out three in one inning.
The Wildcats are back on the road Saturday, when they head to Fulton to take on Itawamba in a doubleheader. First pitch is set for 2 p.m. The game can be listened to on WRJWRadio.com (click on the Wildcat).
MOVING ON UP
The Wildcats saw their stock rise Tuesday when they jumped up one spot in the NJCAA Division II rankings moving from five to four.