No. 4 Pearl River splits road doubleheader with East Mississippi
Dylan Dunaway - PRCC Sports Information Director
SCOOBA, Miss. — It was a tale of two ballgames for the No. 4 Pearl River baseball team Saturday at East Mississippi. The Wildcats picked up a dominant 12-6 victory in game one, but the Lions rallied late in game two to win 3-1 for a series split.
"It's tough to go on the road in this league and sweep. You have to play really good to do that," Pearl River coach Michael Avalon said. "In game two, their guy was better than our nine. He did a great job. It's just frustrating when you let one guy dictate your success and failure. We have to find a way to be better than that."
The scoring happened early and often for Pearl River (32-8 overall; 13-5 MACCC) in the first game of the day. Ian Montz(Lafayette, La.; Acadiana) worked a seven-pitch walk from the leadoff spot and stole second base two pitches later. With two outs in the opening frame, Logan Walters (Petal) laced an RBI double into the left field corner, 1-0.
East Mississippi (19-19; 7-11) evened things up in the bottom half of the inning, but PRCC put up a five-spot in the second to move ahead 6-1. Blaise Breerwood (Poplarville) reached base on an infield single and back-to-back walks from Jonah Katsaboulas (Pearl; Brandon) and Marshall Phillips (Hattiesburg; Sumrall) loaded the bases for Montz. The Wildcat center fielder turned on the first pitch he saw and sent it into right field for a two-run double. Preston Soper (Madison; Germantown) was the next Wildcat to step into the batter's box and he sent an 0-2 pitch flying over the left field wall for an opposite-field three-run homer. The homer was his sixth of the year.
The Wildcats added another run in the third courtesy of Triston Hickman (Wiggins; Stone County). The designated hitter was first pitch swinging and the ball flew over the left field wall for a solo homer, 7-1. EMCC plated two runs in the bottom half of the inning to cut the deficit to four runs, 7-3.
In the fourth, PRCC jumped ahead 10-3. Montz reached on an error by the Lion first baseman and came around to score soon after on an Alex Perry (McComb; North Pike) single. Three pitches later, Walters left the yard, sending a two-run shot over the left field wall. EMCC got one back in their part of the inning, 10-4.
A groundout off the bat of Soper brought home Montz for another Wildcat run in the sixth inning, 11-4. The Lions scored a pair of runs in the seventh to slice the Wildcat lead to 11-6.
Perry capped the Wildcat scoring in the ninth inning, driving in Soper with a single, 12-6.
Cortez Dennis (Wiggins; Stone County) earned the start on the mound for the Wildcats. He allowed four runs on eight hits and three walks while striking out seven. Only one of his allowed runs was earned. Cameron Fennell (Long Beach) threw two relief innings, allowing two runs on two hits and two walks. He struck out three Lions. Bobby Magee (Petal) pitched the final two innings. He gave up just one walk and one hit while striking out three.
Walters led the way offensively, finishing 3-for-5 with three RBIs, two doubles and a homer. Perry and Hickman each had two hits in the game. Soper finished 1-for-5 but drove in four runs and scored a pair.
The nightcap was a much different ball game with Pearl River's Will Passeau (Mobile, Ala.; St. Paul's) and EMCC's starter matching each other almost pitch-for-pitch over the first five innings of the day.
PRCC's lone run of the day came in the third inning. Montz was hit by a pitch and stole second base to get into scoring position. After a Soper groundout, Perry laid down a perfect bunt for a single and RBI, 1-0.
Passeau racked up 11 strikeouts across 5 2/3 innings before he ran into trouble, allowing a two-out RBI single in the sixth frame. The Wildcats opted to make a pitching change and the Wildcat reliever, Blake Hooks (Petal), was greeted by a two-run Lions double, 3-1.
PRCC went down in order in the top of the seventh to give EMCC the victory.
Perry and Walters were the only Wildcats to pick up a hit in the contest. Hunter Sute (Tuscaloosa, Ala.; American Christian Academy) drew a pair of walks.
Passeau finished with 5 2/3 innings, scattering three hits, three walks and three earned runs. He struck out 11 batters. Hooks recorded a strikeout and gave up one hit.
Pearl River returns to the friendly confines of Dub Herring Park on Wednesday for a doubleheader against rival Gulf Coast. The doubleheader is set to get started at 3 p.m.
Season and single-game tickets for Pearl River baseball are available now and can be purchased at PRCCAthletics.com/Tickets.
CASHLESS BOX OFFICE
To help improve traffic flow and fan experience, PRCC athletics box offices are cashless in 2022-23. Only credit and debit cards will be accepted at the box office. Fans are encouraged to beat the lines and purchase their tickets in advance.
Pearl River livestreams all home games 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 at WRJW 1320-AM, 106.9 FM and WRJWRadio.com.
For the latest on Pearl River Community College athletics, follow us on Twitter (@PRCCAthletics) and Facebook (PRCCAthletics)