No. 3 Pearl River caps off road trip with sweep of Shelton State
Tyler Johnson -PRCC Athletics Intern
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The No. 3 Pearl River baseball team capped off its eight-game road trip with an impressive sweep Wednesday, defeating NJCAA DI's Shelton State in game one 6-1 and taking game two 3-2 in extra innings.
"Any time that you can win two on the road is great, but it is especially great getting it done somewhere like Shelton State," Pearl River coach Michael Avalon said. "It's a tough place to play and they're a quality team. We're thankful to get back with two wins. We've played extra innings in three of the last four ball games, so seeing us stay in there, stay tough, battle and come out with the win says a lot about our ball club."
Avalon spoke more on wrapping up a long eight-game road trip with a 6-2 record.
"As we finished up this eight-game road trip, I challenged our team to really finish strong," he said. "We looked at this trip in the preseason and knew that it was going to be a tough stretch for us. Now that it is out of the way, I think that we learned a lot. I was very proud of our guys today because I felt like we learned how to travel. That's something that new guys have to learn how to do as far as preparing yourself for the game on the road. We were very organized today and I was very proud of our guys for that."
PEARL RIVER 6, SHELTON STATE 1. The first three innings started out as a pitcher's duel as Turner Swistak (Hattiesburg; Oak Grove) took the mound for Pearl River (10-2 overall). Swistak ran into a little trouble in the bottom of the second as the first three Shelton State (5-10) batters reached, but he was able to retire three in a row to get out of the danger.
The Wildcats struck immediately after in the top of the third on a two-run home run by Alex Perry (McComb; North Pike), giving Pearl River a 2-0 lead.
From there, both pitchers settled in once again as neither team could muster any offense.
Pearl River came to bat in the seventh inning and took advantage of a pitching change by loading the bases. Logan Walters (Petal) promptly unloaded the bases with a grand slam, blowing things open 6-0 in favor of the Wildcats.
SSCC did scratch across a run in the bottom half of the seventh, but Cole Tolbert (Laurel; West Jones) and Dawson Strong (Bay St. Louis; St. Stanislaus) slammed the door in the eighth and ninth, giving the Wildcats a 6-1 victory.
Swistak had a great outing for the Wildcats in game one, pitching six innings and allowing no runs on just two hits. He also struck out six.
"Swistak made his mark in game one when he had the bases loaded with no outs and was able to get out of that," Avalon said. "It was a turning point in the game and was really the play of the game."
Tolbert pitched two innings, allowing one run on one hit and one walk. He also fanned one batter. Strong pitched the ninth and retired the side in order.
Tate Parker (Gulfport; West Harrison) and Perry both had two hits each. Walters, Gabe Broadus (Wilmer, Ala; Faith Academy), Matt Mercer (Richton; Petal), Ian Montz (Lafayette, La; Acadiana), D.K. Donaldson (Gulfport; West Harrison), and Taylor Woodcock (Pass Christian; West Harrison) all had a hit each. Walters drove in four with a grand slam.
PEARL RIVER 3, SHELTON STATE 2. The Wildcats struck first in game two as Parker came around to score on an RBI single by Perry.
Sam Hill (Soso; West Jones) took the mound and retired the top of the SSCC order to get the Wildcats back to the plate in the second.
From there, a pitcher's duel ensued as both teams struggled to get the offense going.
Pearl River added another run in the top of the sixth as Walters scored on an error, but the Bucs scored twice in the bottom half of the inning to tie the game.
Pearl River broke the deadlock in the top of the eighth after Walters got on base yet again. He found his way to third after a pickoff attempt was overthrown by the SSCC pitcher. He then came around to score on a double by Parker setting the score at 3-2.
Landon Payne (Ocean Springs; St. Martin) retired the SSCC batters in order in the eighth, giving Pearl River the win and sweep.
Hill pitched four innings, allowing no runs on one hit and striking out nine. Bobby Magee (Petal) pitched an inning in relief and struck out two. Payne pitched three innings and allowed no runs on a hit, striking out five.
"Sam threw really well again and Payne was big for us again in the back end," Avalon said. "They were able to keep them at bay and help us a pick up a big win.
Walters and Perry had another impressive showing collecting two hits each. Walters scored two of the three Wildcat runs.
"They both were able to do damage late in the count," Avalon said of Walters and Perry. "The thing with them is that they're strong but they're not being over aggressive at the plate. They're doing a really good job of battling and coming up with big hits."
Parker and Donaldson both had a hit. Parker also scored a run and collected the go-ahead RBI.
UP NEXT The Wildcats return home Saturday to face Coastal Alabama - North. The doubleheader's first pitch is set for 2 p.m.
TICKETS Single-game tickets are available now and can be purchased at PRCCAthletics.com/tickets.
TUNE IN All home Pearl River baseball games are livestreamed for free at PRCCMedia.com. Fans who have Roku, Amazon Fire or Apple TV devices can also watch the Wildcat broadcasts by downloading the "Pearl River CC" channel from their app stores.
Games can also be heard on WRJW 1320-AM, 106.9 FM and WRJWRadio.com.
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