No. 3 Pearl River drops pitcher's duel against Gulf Coast State
Dylan Dunaway - PRCC Sports Information Director
PANAMA CITY, Fla. — It was a true pitcher's duel Friday morning as the No. 3 Pearl River squared off against Gulf Coast State in the first game of the Perfect Game Panama City Beach College Baseball Classic. PRCC battled throughout but fell just short 2-1 to the host Commodores.
"Both of the guys we faced were quality arms," head coach Michael Avalon said. "I saw that in plus counts, we didn't hammer the baseball. We hit it straight into the air. You're not going to win doing that. We're not playing good defensively right now. We have to clean that up."
It was Gulf Coast State (4-0 overall) that struck first in the game. The Commodores led things off with a double before Conner Ware (Madison; Germantown) dropped in a nasty breaking ball to get a strikeout. A walk set up what looked to be an inning-ending double play, but an errant throw allowed the Commodores to strike first, 1-0.
Ware responded well from the first inning run in the second inning. The first batter up flew out, and a pitch plunked the next one. Ware punched out the next two batters to step to the plate, using his changeup to perfection to get both.
Jeff Ince's (Brandon; Jackson Prep) hustle helped Pearl River even things up in the third frame. He sent a looping ball into the outfield that looked as if it had a chance to be caught. The GCSC center fielder crashed in and dove for the ball, but it fell to the ground. Ince never checked up on the play, though, getting to second base for a double. Bryce Fowler (Madison; Germantown) moved him up one base by slapping a two-strike pitch the other way into left field for a single.
The third pitch to Creek Robertson (Oxford; Madison Central) was wild and allowed Ince to cross the plate, 1-1.
Gulf Coast State retook the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning as the leadoff batter sent a ball over the left field wall. Caleb Dyess (Carriere; Pearl River Central) settled in after the hiccup and closed out the inning without any more damage.
Dyess kept the Commodores out of the run column over the next two innings, but the PRCC offense couldn't string any hits together, resulting in a 2-1 loss.
Ware's 2024 debut saw him throw three innings, striking out four batters against three walks and two hits. He allowed one unearned run.
Dyess pitched the final three innings, allowing one run, two hits and three walks. He struck out one batter.
Fowler was PRCC's only hitter with multiple hits, finishing 2-for-3. Robertson walked twice in the game.
Pearl River gets right back to action tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. against Dyersburg State. The game can be heard on WRJW FM 106.9 FM / 1320 AM / wrjwradio.com