No. 1 Pearl River bounces back to split conference opener
Dylan Dunaway - PRCC Sports Information Director
POPLARVILLE, Miss. — The No. 1 Pearl River baseball team battled back to secure a series split Saturday in its conference opener against Northeast. The Wildcat comeback bid came up just short in game one, 6-5, before PRCC secured a 6-4 victory in the nightcap.
"I wasn't really pleased with how he played all day long. We were lucky to split at home," Pearl River coach Michael Avalon said. "That's a reflection of me. I've got to learn how to get more out of this group. We're fortunate to get out of here with a split. Hopefully, we learn from this."
Northeast (14-10 overall; 1-1 MACC) wasted no time getting on the scoreboard to start the game as the second batter of the game blasted a solo homer over the left field wall. Pearl River (20-4; 1-1) matched the run almost instantly. Gabe Broadus (Wilmer, Ala.; Faith Academy) smashed a double off the left field wall and advanced on a passed ball a few pitches later. Alex Perry (McComb; North Pike) drove him in with a ground out to first base, 1-1.
A four-spot by the Tigers in the fifth helped them take a 5-1 lead. PRCC plated another run in the sixth to set the score at 5-2. Broadus led off the inning with a blooper into right field. The NEMCC outfielder crashed in and dove for the ball, but it bounced off his glove for a leadoff double. Preston Soper (Madison; Germantown) drove him in one batter later with a line drive right back up the middle.
Northeast added on a run in the top of the seventh, 6-2.
The Wildcats scored runs in each of the seventh and eighth innings, making the deficit 6-4. The first run was scored on a single by Marshall Phillips (Hattiesburg; Sumrall). The next inning saw Ian Montz (Lafayette, La.; Acadiana) lay down a bunt. Montz was going to be safe at first either way, but an error by the Tiger pitcher allowed a run to score and Montz to make it all the way to third base.
Although the Wildcats plated a run in the ninth off an RBI single by Broadus, the comeback bid fell just short, 6-5.
Broadus led the way at the plate with a 3-for-5 game with two doubles and an RBI. Blaise Breerwood (Poplarville) went 2-for-4 in the contest.
Passeau tossed four innings, allowing three runs on two hits and three walks. He struck out five batters. Bobby Magee(Petal) tossed two innings in relief, giving up five hits and two runs. Luke Lyon (Hattiesburg; Oak Grove) threw three innings and gave up two hits and a run. He walked two and struck out one.
PRCC got the scoring started early in game two, plating three first-inning runs. The first run touched home plate after Logan Walters (Petal) chopped a single just out of the reach of the diving Tiger shortstop. Montz was the next batter to step to the plate and he dropped an RBI single just in front of the NEMCC center fielder for an RBI.
Two runners scored for the Tigers in the top of the fourth, but PRCC responded with two of its own in the bottom half of the frame. Perry drew a bases-loaded walk for the first run and Walters picked up the second RBI with a sacrifice fly, 5-2.
NEMCC tacked on two runs in the fifth to trail by just one run, 5-4. Perry gave PRCC some much-needed insurance in the bottom of the sixth, belting his third home run of the season for a 6-4 lead.
Northeast loaded the bases in the top of the seventh inning, but reliever Landen Payne (Ocean Springs; St. Martin) picked up a massive punchout to win the game and earn the save.
Landen Payne reacts after getting the last out.
Cortez Dennis (Wiggins; Stone County) pitched four innings allowing two earned runs and one earned run on three hits. He struck out four batters. Blake Hooks (Petal) tossed 1 2/3 innings, allowing two walks, one hit and one earned run. He struck out three hitters. Payne pitched 1 1/3 innings, walking four and striking out three.
Montz and Breerwood each went 2-for-4 in the contest. Perry finished 1-for-2 with two runs scored, two RBIs and two walks.