Offensive explosion leads No. 4 Pearl River to two wins
DECATUR, Miss. — The No. 4 Pearl River baseball team was firing on all cylinders at the plate Sunday, scoring 28 combined runs in wins over No. 19 Southeastern and Jones College. The Wildcats took down the Blackhawks 9-8 before pummeling the Bobcats for a 19-8 run-rule victory in the nightcap.
"We're happy about the wins but I feel like we didn't play well," Pearl River coach Michael Avalon said. "We've got room to grow and need to get better. We have really good players, but we have to clean a bunch of things up. The bottom line is that we got two wins against two very good teams and we're thankful for that."
PEARL RIVER 9, SOUTHEASTERN 8. Southeastern (2-2 overall) jumped on Pearl River (6-0) early in the first game of the day. Dakota Lee (Purvis) sent the first two Blackhawk batters to the dugout quickly, but Southeastern then grabbed back-to-back singles before blasting a 3-run homer over the centerfield wall to take an early lead.
The Wildcats did some damage with two outs in their half of the first inning. Tate Parker (Gulfport; West Harrison) singled into right field and promptly swiped second base. Matt Mercer (Richton; Petal) followed it up by grounding a ball between third base and shortstop, advancing Parker in the process. D.K. Donaldson (Gulfport; West Harrison) then stepped to the plate and looped the fifth pitch of his at-bat into left field to bring home Parker and make the score 3-1.
The second inning saw the Wildcats cut the deficit to 3-2. Logan Walters (Petal) reached on an error and eventually came around to score after a Gabe Broadus (Wilmer, Ala.; Faith Academy) ground out.
Southeastern made the score 5-2 in the fourth inning after blasting a solo shot and scoring on a bases-loaded walk.
PRCC's bats came alive in their half of the fourth as the Wildcats took their first lead of the game, 6-5. Alex Perry(McComb; North Pike) led off the inning with a long at-bat. On the eighth pitch of plate appearance, the freshman hit a moonshot homer over the left field wall. Preston Soper (Madison; Germantown) then drew a four-pitch walk and Walters made the Blackhawks pay for the free-pass by launching the first home run of his Wildcat career. Broadus walked and stole second base before moving up another base on a flyball. An errant pickoff attempt by the Blackhawk pitcher brought Broadus in before the inning ended.
Pearl River tacked on another run in the bottom of the fifth to make the score 7-5. Mercer got the inning started with a double and Donaldson and Perry followed it up with back-to-back walks. A fielder's choice off the bat of Soper then brought Mercer home.
Southeastern tied things up 7-7 in the sixth after runs scored on a passed ball and a single.
The Wildcats retook the lead in their half of the sixth. Taylor Woodcock (Pass Christian; West Harrison) led off the inning with a walk and Broadus was hit by a pitch in the next at-bat. Ian Montz (Lafayette, La.; Acadiana) then drew a walk to load the bases. Parker then brought Woodcock home with a sacrifice fly to make the score 8-7.
The Blackhawks tied the game at 8-8 in the eighth inning, scoring a run on an error.
Pearl River went quietly in its half of the inning, but a 1-2-3 top of the ninth inning from Cole Tolbert (Laurel; West Jones) sent the Wildcats to the bottom of the ninth in an 8-8 tie.
Donaldson stepped to the plate in the bottom of the ninth and nearly ended the game, sending a towering fly ball to left field that was eventually tracked down on the warning track by the Southeastern left fielder. Luckily for Pearl River, it didn't take long for Perry to send the Wildcat bench into hysterics as the freshman destroyed the first pitch that he saw deep over the left field wall for a walk-off homer and 9-8 victory.
Lee earned his second start of the season, pitching 3 1/3 innings and striking out two batters. He allowed five earned runs and walked two batters. Bobby Magee (Petal) went 1 2/3 innings, tallying three walks and three strikeouts. Will Passeau(Mobile, Ala.; St. Pauls) finished the night with two innings pitched and five strikeouts against two earned runs and three walks. Tolbert earned the win after pitching two innings while walking two and striking out three.
Perry led the way offensively, finishing the game with two hits, two homers, two RBIs and two walks.
"Perry was as advertised," Avalon said. "He just keeps swinging it and he's staying humble. We tell him just to get up there and hit and he does just that." Mercer also collected two hits. Broadus swiped three bases.
PEARL RIVER 19, JONES COLLEGE 8. The Wildcats jumped on Jones College (4-2) out of the gate, plating three first-inning runs. The frame began with back-to-back walks by Broadus and Perry followed by a two-run double from Parker. Parker soon came around to score after a throw down to second base bought him enough time to score from third.
Leif Moore (Biloxi; St. Martin) found himself in some trouble in the bottom half of the inning but eventually struck out a batter to put an end to the threat. Jones College cut into the deficit in the second inning. Two consecutive doubles scored the first run and an error by the Wildcats brought home the second to make the score 3-2.
The third inning saw Soper clobber a three-run homer to right field, increasing the Wildcat lead to 6-2 in the process.
The Bobcats went quietly in the bottom half of the third inning and the Wildcats tacked on a pair of runs in the fourth. After Perry drew a walk, Parker smacked a two-run shot to put Pearl River ahead 8-2.
Jones got three runs back in its half of the inning, making the score 8-5.
The Wildcats did all of their damage in the fifth inning with two outs, scoring six runs after the first two batters were retired. Montz and Ryan Burt (Columbus; New Hope) each drew a walk before a Woodcock single brought Montz home. Broadus drew a six-pitch walk to load the bases and in stepped Perry. The freshman delivered once again, driving all three runners in with a triple. Two pitches later, Parker hit his second two-run home run in as many innings to put Pearl River ahead 14-5.
The score was 14-6 after a Bobcat single brought a runner home in their half of the fifth inning.
The Wildcats continued the scoring barrage in the sixth inning as Montz hit his second homer of the season to put Pearl River ahead 15-6.
Jones College tacked on two runs in the seventh inning to cut the deficit to seven runs at 15-8.
PRCC capped the scoring in the eighth. Parker led off the inning with a double and eventually came around to score on a single by Donaldson. After Triston Hickman (Wiggins; Stone) was hit by a pitch, Soper doubled to bring Donaldson home. Walters followed that up by lacing a single to right field to bring in Hickman, making the score 19-8.
Dawson Strong (Bay St. Louis; St. Stanislaus) entered the game to pitch the eighth frame and put an end to the game with a 1-2-3 inning.
Moore pitched three innings and allowed five runs but just two of them were earned. He struck out three Bobcats. Harper Jordan (Hattiesburg; Presbyterian Christian) threw 1 1/3 innings, striking out three against one walk and one run. Byrion Robinson (Brookhaven) tallied 1 2/3 innings and allowed just one walk. Jordan Belsome (Poplarville) pitched an inning, allowing two hits and two unearned runs. He also tallied two strikeouts.
Parker led the way offensively, finishing the game with five hits, five runs, six RBIs, two homers and two steals.
"Tate Parker is just Tate Parker," Avalon said of the reigning MACCC player of the year. "He's so consistent. We want him to keep doing that and keep working and he will."
Soper was the only other Wildcat with multiple hits, collecting two. He was second in RBIs with four.
NEXT UP PRCC returns to action Tuesday as they travel to Brewton, Ala. to take on Coastal Alabama – East. First pitch of the doubleheader is set for noon.