No. 2 Pearl River splits with No. 11 Itawamba
FULTON, Miss. — No. 2 Pearl River took on its second consecutive top-15 opponent on Sunday, earning a split against No. 11 Itawamba. The Wildcats claimed game one 11-5, and their comeback attempt in game two fell just short, 10-8.
“In game 1, I think we did a good job against one of their better arms, and our approach was good,” said coach Michael Avalon. “We were able to keep competing and string some hits together when we needed to. It was a good win for us.”
Pearl River (25-7 overall; 15-5 MACCC) came out of the gate swinging to start the game going ahead 2-0 in the first inning.
Graham Crawford (Sumrall) walked on four straight pitches to reach base and Tate Parker (Gulfport; West Harrison) followed him, reaching on a bunt single. Kasey Donaldson (Gulfport; West Harrison) stepped into the batter’s box and drove in two runs with a single.
A solo shot over the center field wall by Eric Newsom (Madison; Germantown) extended the Wildcat lead to 3-0 in the second.
Itawamba (19-9; 15-5) took the lead 4-3 in the second inning by way of a three-run homer and an RBI single. The Indians had another runner in scoring position, but Turner Swistak (Hattiesburg; Oak Grove) struck out three consecutive batters to end the inning.
An RBI double by ICC extended their lead to 5-3 in the fourth.
Nick Skaggs (Biloxi) singled to open the fifth and proceeded to steal second base and advance to third on a passed ball. Crawford brought him across the plate with a groundout to cut the Indian lead to just one at 5-4.
Clutch two-out hitting put the Wildcats back in front in the seventh inning, 9-5. Parker lined a ball up the middle to bring in the first two runs. After working the count to 2-2, Donaldson blasted his 10th homer of the season, plating three runs in the process.
Donaldson (pictured above) built on his fantastic game in the ninth, depositing his second home run of the day over the wall, claiming his sixth and seventh RBIs of the game in the process to extend the lead to 11-5.
Swistak earned the start in game one throwing four innings, allowing five runs on nine hits.
Jacob Scherer (Mandeville, La.; St. Paul’s) earned the win after throwing 2 1/3 relief innings, allowing just two hits while striking out three.
Dakota Lee (Purvis) had a solid outing allowing just one hit over 2 2/3 innings. He struck out five.
Donaldson led the team in hits and RBIs with 3 and 7. Parker and Dalton Cummins (Seminary) each had two hits.
Crawford walked three times.
Itawamba put the first run on the board in Game 2, driving in a run with a single to go ahead 1-0.
In the second inning, the Indians added five more runs to extend their lead, 6-0.
Pearl River showed some fight in the third when Crawford belted the second pitch that he saw for his 10th homer of the season, making the score 6-2.
After a quiet fourth inning, the Wildcats sliced into the lead in the fifth. John Griffin Bell (Mobile, Ala.; Faith Academy) hit a solo shot over the left field wall. A few batters later, Donaldson drove in yet another run on a line drive to center to cut the deficit to just two at 6-4.
ICC pushed across four insurance runs in the sixth. A two-run double followed by a two-run home run increased their lead to 10-4.
PRCC made it a close game in their half of the seventh, pushing across four runs. On the 10th pitch of his at-bat, Newsom lined a single into center field to bring home the first run. Cummins followed it up with a three-run blast to put the Wildcats within two at 10-8.
The rally fell just short as the Indians induced a pop-up to end the game.
Skaggs and Donaldson tied for the team lead in hits with two. Donaldson finished the doubleheader with five hits and eight RBIs.
“In Game 1, it’s no question that Kasey carried us, but he had a good day in both games,” said Avalon. “He’s a veteran. He’s been there and done that, so it was good to see him have a good day.”
Cummins led the team in RBIs with three. Crawford and Cummins each walked once.
Landon Harper (Lauderdale; Northeast Lauderdale) made the start on the hill, throwing two innings and allowing six runs.
Landon Rawson (Kosciusko; Central Holmes Academy) threw two solid innings, allowing just one hit and one walk. He struck out one batter. Trace McNabb (Foxworth; West Marion) threw 1 1/3 innings, allowing three runs. Parker Harrington (Hattiesburg; Oak Grove) made his collegiate debut in the seventh, getting the last two outs of the inning.
Pearl River will be back in action on Wednesday at Southwest for a doubleheader. The games will begin at 3 p.m.
Cummins announced his commitment to Delta State on Thursday, becoming the 11th Wildcat to commit to or sign with a four-year university.
He joins fellow Delta State commit McNabb, Tennessee Tech commit Newsom, Mississippi State commit Von Seibert (Mobile, Ala.; Daphne) as the latest to commit to play at the next level.
Among those who have already signed to move on are South Alabama signees Parker and Donaldson, Alabama signee Crawford, Charleston Southern signee Austen Izzio (Carriere; Pearl River Central), Memphis signee Landon Gartman (Bogue Chitto; Enterprise), Louisiana Tech signee Taylor Woodcock (Pass Christian; West Harrison), and Southeastern Louisiana signee Scherer.