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No. 5 Pearl River sweeps Meridian for 15th consecutive win

Dylan Dunaway - PRCC Sports Information Director


MERIDIAN, Miss. — The No. 5 Pearl River Wildcats went into a nationally ranked matchup with No. 12 Meridian Tuesday night and came away with two huge wins. The first game was one-sided, with the Wildcats winning 14-2. The second game was much closer, but with a timely home run, PRCC was victorious 5-2.

The sweep pushed PRCC's winning streak to 15 games and was the first road sweep over Meridian in the Michael Avalon era, making for a solid birthday present for the skipper.

"I have a lot of respect for Meridian. Their tradition speaks for itself," head coach Michael Avalon said. "You know when you go to Meridian, it will be a tough day. I'm proud of the guys for setting the tone early. In the second game, they stayed with it despite going down. You can go up there and play well and lose one or two games. Today, we won two."

 

GAME ONE

In the opening frame of the ballgame, things began quickly for Pearl River (28-5 overall; 8-0 MACCC) as Bryce Fowler (Madison; Germantown) roped the second pitch of the afternoon for a line-drive single into center field. Fowler advanced to third, but the inning ended when a Jeff Ince (Brandon; Jackson Prep) rocket found an Eagle glove. In the bottom of the first, Thomas Crabtree (Collierville, Tenn.; Collierville) began his outing sharp. He snapped off a quick breaking ball that arched directly over the strike zone for his first punchout of the game. Two subsequent groundouts quickly closed the inning.

The first run of game one came when Marshall Phillips (Hattiesburg; Sumrall) scored. He reached first base on an error and made it around to third. Jonah Katsaboulas (Brandon) earned the RBI, scoring Phillips on a hard groundout. Between two Crabtree strikeouts, Meridian tied the game at 1-1 off a solo home run.

The Wildcats answered right back when Ince flashed his speed. Ince reached on an infield single, stole second and third, then came around to score on a wild pitch. The Wildcats led 2-1.

Pearl River added four runs in the top of the fourth. The big blow came off the bat of Creek Robertson (Oxford; Madison Central). To set the scene, Alex Wade (Decatur, Ala.; Madison Academy) drilled a one-out double that hit the left field wall. A pitch then hit Logan Terry (Semmes, Ala.; East Central). Creek Robertson stepped up to the plate and launched a missile off his bat and over the wall. The action was not over, as Hollis Porter (Hurley; East Central) made it back-to-back jacks. He stepped into the box and quickly deposited a baseball over the left-field wall. Going back at it, Crabtree added two strikeouts to his line in the bottom of the fourth.

Pearl River added two more runs in the next half. A Wade single scored Katsaboulas. Fowler then hit an absolute no-doubter near the right-field scoreboard, scoring Wade and himself. Crabtree was nearly automatic, racking up two more strikeouts in the bottom half.

The Wildcats extended their lead to 10 runs with a score of 11-1 before Meridian got one back off a second solo home run. In the top of the seventh, with the score set at 12-2, Fowler scored on a passed ball. Creek Robertson scored the final run for the Wildcats, making it 14-2. With the run rule in effect, Crabtree was back out for the seventh inning. Giving up two singles, he escaped with a clean inning after gathering his final strikeout and a groundout. 

Fowler went 3-for-5 with a triple and a home run. He tallied three RBIs with two runs scored. Porter and Creek Robertson both belted home runs. They both came in to score twice. Creek Robertson recorded three RBIs, while Porter had one.

Wade went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI. He scored twice.

Pitching in game one was all Crabtree. He threw the complete seven innings, earning the win. He gave up two earned runs on five hits. He struck out 12 Eagles while walking one.

"He commanded everything," Avalon said." He got ahead of hitters. His breaking ball was special today."

 

GAME TWO

Game two of the evening was much tighter. Meridian scored first in the bottom of the first inning. 

The Wildcats did not answer back until the top of the fourth. With mounting pressure, Katsaboulas worked a 0-2 count into a 3-2 count and drew a bases-loaded walk to tie things up, 1-1. Unfortunately, the Eagles got a clutch double play and strikeout to end the Wildcat's threatening attempt.

Meridian hung tough, responding abruptly in the bottom of the fourth with a second run. An Eagle blooper just off the hands landed just inside the left field line past third base. Starter JP Robertson (Madison; Germantown) gathered himself for another strikeout to end the frame there. 


The fifth inning began with two Wildcat walks from Terry and Fowler. Porter was then intentionally walked. Down 2-1, after loading the bases for the second time, Ince brought in the tying run with a sacrifice fly, 2-2.



With the game in a stalemate, all knotted up at two, Phillips took an opportunity after back-to-back two-out hits. He launched the third pitch he saw deep past the left field fence. This was just what the Wildcats needed, pushing them ahead 5-2.

Austin Tommasini (Madison; Madison Central) protected the lead in the bottom of the seventh as PRCC earned the doubleheader sweep.

The Wildcat offense was carried by Phillips' big shot in game two. He was 1-for-2 with a homer and three RBIs. Porter went 2-for-3 with two singles and two runs scored. Ince was 2-for-3 with a double, a run scored, and an RBI.


"Marshall Phillips is Pearl River," Avalon said. "That was a big-time at-bat. It was a big hit for him and a big hit for our team."

A duo of Robertson and Tommasini hurled the ball for the Wildcats. JP Roberston went 4 1/3 innings, giving up two earned runs on seven hits. He recorded seven strikeouts while allowing only one walk. Tommasini threw the remaining 2 2/3 innings, allowing one hit and picking up four Ks. He earned the win.

"JP threw well. He battled," Avalon said. "Tommasini did what he's been doing. He competed and finished it off for us."

 

UP NEXT

The Wildcats return back to Dub Herring Park on Saturday for a 2 p.m. doubleheader against Itawamba. 

 

TICKETS

Tickets are on sale now at PRCCAthletics.com/Tickets. General admission tickets are $8 per game. Season passes can be purchased for $75 for softball or a softball/baseball season pass can be purchased for $100.

 

HOW TO WATCH

The Wildcats livestream all games for free at PRCCMedia.com/gold. 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 X (@PRCCAthletics) and Facebook (PRCCAthletics). 

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