Wildcats tighten grip on top spot after sweeping East Central
Decatur– For the second time this season, Pearl River Community College baseball found itself trailing an MACJC foe on the road Wednesday by a 10-1 margin. And like that first time against Northwest Mississippi, the Wildcats rallied for a 13-10 victory.
PRCC scored 11 runs in the top of the seventh inning against East Central to take the opener, then pushed across three unearned runs in the top of the seventh to win the nightcap 6-3 and earn a sweep of the conference doubleheader.
With the sweep, Pearl River (24-4 overall, 10-0 conference), the nation’s seventh-ranked team in NJCAA Division II, has opened up a three-game lead (four in the loss column) over the rest of the league. East Central (19-9, 8-4) is tied for second place with Jones County and Meridian.
Photo: Pearl River freshman Noah Barron concentrates on the pitch during action against Mississippi Gulf Coast earlier this season at Poplarville -Photo by PRCC Sports Information
Sophomore Simon Landry (Ponchatoula, La.) smacked a three-run triple to key the Wildcats’ decisive seventh-inning rally in the opener. Freshman Miles Smith (Laurel) gave PRCC six strong innings in Game 2, and sophomore Colby White (Foxworth) got saves in both games.
ECCC jumped on top in the opener with a run in the bottom of the first, but Pearl River tied it in the second when freshman Matt Taylor (Raleigh) doubled and scored on a single by freshman Shemar Page (Raleigh).
The Warriors regained the lead in the bottom of the second, then added two runs in the fourth and six runs in the fifth to take a seemingly-commanding lead.
Freshman Noah Barron (Hoover, Ala.) opened the seventh with a double, and the Wildcats loaded the bases when Taylor was hit by a pitch and freshman Wiley Cleland (Columbia) walked.
Page doubled to drive in two runs, then sophomore Scooter Ginn (Columbia) was hit by a pitch to reload the bases. One run scored on a groundout, then the wheels completely fell off for the Warriors.
Sophomore Derek Eberly (Blountstown, Fla.) and redshirt sophomore Bryson Medious (Columbia) were both hit by a pitch, with a run walking home as Medious reached base. Landry then cleared the bases with a rocket into the rightfield corner to make it 10-8.
The onslaught continued with Barron driving in Landry with a single and Taylor reached on a single, sending Barron to third. Barron scored the tying run on a successful double steal, and Taylor scored from second on an error off the bat of Cleland to put PRCC in front.
Another error allowed Cleland to score, and the Wildcats added another run in the eighth on Medious’ leadoff home run, his fifth of the season.
Redshirt freshman Dylan Usry (Lake) picked up the victory with two innings of relief, improving to 2-1 for the year. White surrendered a leadoff walk in the ninth, then got a popup and two strikeouts for the save.
Eberly got the Wildcats going in Game 2 by smacking his sixth homer of the season on the third pitch of the game, but East Central answered in the bottom of the first with a run to tie it up.
PRCC scored twice in the third, when sophomore Kevin Carter (Gulfport) was hit by a pitch and came around to score on a double by Eberly. Medious moved Eberly over with a sacrifice and Landry sent Eberly home on a sacrifice fly.
East Central tied the game again with two runs in the bottom of the third, but Smith (4-1) kept the Warriors off the scoreboard through the next three innings, retiring 14 of the last 16 batters he faced.
The game-winning rally in the seventh started when Cleland led off by reaching on an error. Ginn batted into a fielder’s choice and took third on a double by freshman Magruder O’Bannon (Long Beach).
Carter executed a perfect bunt on a squeeze play to score Ginn, and O’Bannon and Carter both scored when the Warriors botched a pickoff play, then made another error on the play trying to put out Carter at third.
That was more than enough help for White, who blew away three batters in the bottom of the seventh on 14 pitches, all on strikeouts, to nail down his sixth save of the season.
Pearl River returns home for its next three doubleheaders, beginning Saturday at 2 p.m. against Meridian. Game 2 of that twin-bill will livestream on prccmedia.com. The Wildcats entertain Southwest on Tuesday and Mississippi Delta on April 14.
PRCC BASEBALL LINESCORES
Wednesday at Decatur
Pearl River 13, East Central 10
Pearl River 010 000 (11)10 – 13 11 2
East Central 112 060 000 – 10 10 3
PEARL RIVER (23-4, 9-0 in MACJC): Derek Eberly 2B; Bryson Medious HR (solo); Simon Landry 3B (3 RBIs); Noah Barron 2B, 1B; Matt Taylor 2B, 1B; Shemar Page 2B, 3 1B (3 RBIs). WP – Dylan Usry (2-1). Save – Colby White (5). Also pitching – Camden Dusang (starter); Luke Bradley; Colin Danley Jerod Meggs.
EAST CENTRAL (19-8, 8-3 in MACJC): Jacob Edwards 2 1B; Deon Leflore HR (solo), 1B; George Farid 2 1B; Zack Hutchison 1B; Cain Cleveland 1B; Will Ross 2B (3 RBIs). LP – Kolby Crowley (5-2) (5-1). Also pitching – Dylan Marsh (starter); Tanner Elders; Payton Griffin.
Pearl River 6, East Central 3
Pearl River 102 000 3 – 6 5 1
East Central 102 000 0 – 3 4 4
PEARL RIVER (24-4, 10-0 in MACJC): Derek Eberly HR (solo), 2B, 1B; Magruder O’Bannon 1B; Kevin Carter 1B. WP – Miles Smith (4-1). Save – Colby White (6).
EAST CENTRAL (19-9, 8-4 in MACJC): Wyatt Ball 2 1B (3 RBIs); Davis Lott 1B; Cain Cleveland 2B. LP – Brooks Warren (3-3). Also pitching – Kolby Crowley.