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No. 4 Pearl River bolsters winning streak as it strolls through Copiah-Lincoln

Dylan Dunaway - PRCC Sports Information Director


WESSON, Miss. — The No. 4 Pearl River baseball team expanded its winning streak to 23 overall and 16 in MACCC play Tuesday afternoon, cruising through Copiah-Lincoln with a 16-1 game-one victory and a 9-0 game-two victory.

"From start to finish, today was one of our better days throughout the year," head coach Michael Avalon said. "Our nine guys in the lineup are making you beat nine guys, not just one. We are a unit, and that can be very tough. There is still a lot we can get better at, but I was very proud of how we played today."

 

GAME ONE

Pearl River (36-5 Overall; 16-0 MACCC) set the tone for the day right from the start as its leadoff batter Bryce Fowler (Madison; Germantown) deposited a 2-1 pitch over the left field wall for an opposite-field solo home run, 1-0.

Two-time defending MACCC Pitcher of the Week Thomas Crabtree (Collierville, Tenn.) was handed the ball for his 10th start of the year and retired the Wolves (17-21; 5-9) relatively quickly in the bottom of the first to send his offense back to the plate. 


Fowler helped create two more runs in the top of the second. With a pair of runners on base, Fowler roped a single into right field to bring home a run. He followed it up by intentionally getting caught in a run down so that Logan Terry (Semmes, Ala.; East Central) could swipe home plate, 3-0.


The third inning saw five more Wildcat runs cross the plate. Marshall Phillips (Hattiesburg; Sumrall) brought in the first run with an infield single before Jonah Katsaboulas (Brandon) loaded the bases with a hit-by-pitch. Alex Wade (Decatur, Ala.; Madison Academy) stepped up to the plate next and sent the third pitch thrown to him over the wall in left field for a grand slam, extending the lead to 8-0.


Crabtree worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the third inning, picking up back-to-back strikeouts to end the threat and allow the hot bats to head back to the plate. The long ball aided PRCC's efforts once again in the fourth. A single and a walk had two runners on base, bringing Wade back to the plate in another big situation. He swung through the first two pitches thrown to him and then bashed a three-run shot over the left field wall —the blast was his fourth in the last three games and his ninth of the year. Caleb Dyess (Carriere; Pearl River Central) earned a pinch-hit opportunity to follow and promptly sent it off the hitting facility beyond the left field wall for a 12-0 lead.


The home run hitting wasn't done there for the Wildcats as it picked back up in the fifth with none other than the NJCAA's leading home run hitter, Hollis Porter (Hurley; East Central), who ripped a laser solo shot over the right field wall, 13-0. The blast was his 17th of the year.


An RBI groundout by Terry tacked on a run, and Fowler picked up an RBI single to make it 15-0 in the sixth inning. Caston Thompson (Jayess; Brookhaven Academy) wrapped up the scoring in a big way, sending a pinch-hit home run over straight away center field, 16-0.


Copiah-Lincoln picked up one run in the seventh, but PRCC closed things out to secure the run-rule victory.


Wade led the offensive effort, going 3-for-5 with seven RBIs. He had two home runs and scored three runs. Porter went 4-for-5 with two doubles and a home run. Fowler picked up three hits and drove in three runs. Jeff Ince (Brandon; Jackson Prep) and Dyess each had two hits.


Crabtree picked up where he left off in his last two starts, going five innings and allowing just two hits and two walks. He struck out eight. Blaine Knight (Kiln; Hancock) threw an inning, giving up one hit. Dylan Wallace (Columbia) recorded the final three outs, allowing one run and one hit. 

 

GAME TWO

Fowler led off game two strongly, as he did in game one. This time, he singled hard into right field. Porter turned his back into a pitch as he was granted first base. Ince followed that up with a walk, and very quickly, the bases were loaded as the Wildcats pressed on. What seemed to be an inning-ending double play went awry as the Wolves unleashed a wild throw over the first baseman's head. The error on the turn allowed Fowler and Porter to score, 2-0.


JP Robertson (Madison; Germantown) approached the rubber with the Wildcats owning an early 2-0 lead. He gathered his first punchout on his second batter of the day, swinging. Despite giving up a two-out double, he induced a fly out to left field to close the first inning.


The following two innings of baseball went quiet as PRCC generated two straight singles to open the second, but a successful pickoff dwindled the threat. Then, both pitchers collected two strikeouts in the bottom of the second and top of the third. JP Robertson picked up his two on breaking pitches and then added another on his first batter faced in the third. With two outs, he allowed a four-pitch walk and single before collecting himself to achieve a flyout and close the third inning.


The Wildcats picked up two runs in the fourth. Phillips led off with a bunt single down the third base line. Thompson took the first pitch of his at-bat deep into center field and over the head of a retreating Co-Lin outfielder. With runners on second and third, Creek Robertson laid down a bunt single that scored Phillips on a play at home. Terry worked a walk before Fowler singled, scoring Thompson. With two outs and first base open, Porter was intentionally walked to load the bases. Unfortunately, the Wolves escaped without further damage. JP Robertson produced three groundouts in the bottom frame with a single in the mix. Both teams went quietly in the fifth, with Katsaboulas and Creek Robertson making great defensive plays. Katsaboulas (pictured below) ranged into foul territory, fully extending into a dive and gloving the ball before quickly standing up and unleashing a dart across the diamond.



PRCC added insurance via two runs in the sixth inning. Terry doubled over the center fielder's head with one out as the ball bounced against the wall. Fowler followed that up with his own to the wall. Fowler strolled through the bases, scoring Terry and earning a triple. Katsaboulas knocked in Fowler with a sacrifice fly into right field foul territory.


JP Robertson generated a groundout in the bottom half before allowing a single. A sharp line drive fell into the glove of Ince, who doubled off the runner on first base to end the inning.


Looking to go the distance, JP Robertson trotted back to the mound in the seventh. After a beginner groundout, a runner reached second base. Wavering, JP Robertson struck out a pinch hitter on six pitches before closing the game with three straight strikes to the final batter.


JP Robertson tossed the full seven innings, earning six strikeouts and giving up four sporadic hits. He allowed one walk, stranding all five baserunners.

Thompson and Fowler both went 3-for-4 and scored two runs. Fowler earned three RBIs, while Thompson had two. Thompson had the game's lone home run, and Fowler stole two bases. Creek Robertson was 2-for-4 with two singles, one RBI, and one run scored.


"Caston can shrink a ballpark. He's a big and strong physical guy," Avalon said. "Down the stretch, he can be a really big piece for us."

 

NEXT UP

The Wildcats are back at it tomorrow as they travel to the coast, taking on the Biloxi Shuckers in an exhibition game. The first pitch at Shuckers Ballpark is set for 6:35 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at https://www.ticketmaster.com/event/1B005E779C41335E

 

For the latest on Pearl River Community College athletics, follow us on Twitter (@PRCCAthletics) and Facebook (PRCCAthletics).  

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