POPLARVILLE — The No. 5 Pearl River Wildcats lost two closely contested baseball games Tuesday night to No. 7 Jones College 9-8 and 6-5.
The Wildcats (32-11 overall, 17-9 MACJC) went back and forth with the Bobcats (34-8, 18-6) through both contests but were not able to keep up the rallies.
"That's a quality opponent right there and on top of that they outplayed us," PRCC coach Michael Avalon said.
Game 1: JC 9, PRCC 8
Jones struck first in the top of the second inning to take a 1-0 lead over the Wildcats.
The Wildcats immediately answered back with a three-run shot from Reece Ewing (Mobile, Ala.; Faith Academy) that gave the Wildcats a two-run lead.
Jones cut into the lead in the top of the third, plating one run, and then added added two more on two errors in the fifth to pull ahead 5-3.
Trailing 6-3 in the bottom of the sixth, Shemar Page (Raleigh) responded with an double.
Jones regained the momentum in the top of the seventh adding three runs to extend its lead to 9-4.
The Wildcats immediately answered with an RBI single from Page in the bottom of the seventh.
Pearl River continued to chip away at the Bobcat lead scoring off an RBI single by Matt Taylor (Raleigh) and a fielder's choice from Austen Izzio (Carriere; Pearl River Central) to make it a 9-7 game.
The Wildcats gave Jones one last scare in the bottom of the ninth after an RBI single from Kasey Donaldson (Gulfport; West Harrison). PRCC loaded the bases but could not complete the rally.
Page led the team in hits with three and also drove in two runs. Noah Barron (Hoover, Ala.) and Izzio also had two hits.
"Shemar's seeing the ball a lot better than he has this season," Avalon said. "He just needs to continue to do that and stick with it."
Ewing led the team in RBI with three.
Colin Danley (Lucedale; East Central) got the start on the mound for the Wildcats while Trenton Lee (Picayune), Jerod Meggs (Kosciusko), Reid Goleman (Moselle; South Jones) also saw action on the mound.
Game 2: JC 6, PRCC 5
Jones once again struck first in the top of the first inning, plating one run to take a 1-0 lead.
The Wildcats answered back in the bottom of the first inning when Ewing stole home on a wild pitch.
Izzio gave the Wildcats the lead with a solo shot out of center field in the bottom of the second inning to give PRCC a 2-1 lead.
Jones plated three runs in the top of the fourth inning to retake the lead.
The Wildcats did not wait long to respond, scoring two runs off of two RBI singles from Ewing and Taylor.
Jones retook the lead in the top of the fifth inning plating a run before the Wildcats tied the game again off of a fielder's choice hit by Donaldson.
Jones once again retook the lead after an RBI single in the top of the sixth to take a 6-5 lead.
The Wildcats were once again unable to rally and dropped the contest 6-5.
Taylor led the team in bats with three.
Miles Smith (Laurel; Northeast Jones) got the start for the Wildcats.
Smith threw five innings allowing eight hits, four walks and six earned runs while striking out four.
Meggs closed the game for PRCC.
MACJC Player of the Week
Wildcats second baseman Dexter Jordan hit his way to MACJC Player of the Week, the league announced Tuesday.
Jordan hit .500 on the week. Of Jordan's six hits, five went for extra bases; including three doubles and two home runs. He also drove in nine runs, scored four times, was hit by a pitch, walked twice without striking out and stole a base.
The Wildcats return to action Friday when they host Northwest in a doubleheader set to start at 2 p.m.