PRCC Wildcats sweep doubleheader from East Mississippi

By STAN CALDWELL,

POPLARVILLE – Pearl River Community College had an easy time of it in the first game, then came from behind in the second game to sweep an MACJC doubleheader from East Mississippi Saturday at Dub Herring Park.

The Wildcats struck for seven runs in the first two innings and coasted to a 10-0 victory in six innings in the opener, then overcame a 4-0 deficit to win the nightcap 6-4.

Sixth-ranked PRCC (31-7 overall) clinched a postseason berth and remained in first place in the conference standings at 17-3 in league play. EMCC dropped to 12-22 and 5-15.

“We came out the first game, swung the bats well and took control early, which was good,” said PRCC coach Michael Avalon. “I was proud of the way we came back after getting down 4-0 (in Game 2).

“Credit East Mississippi; they threw a good arm at us and he kept us off balance with the change-up, but we were able to battle back and score some runs.”

Pearl River gave freshman right-hander Shemar Page (Raleigh) all the runs he would need in the first inning, scoring three runs.

Freshman Matt Taylor (Raleigh) reached on a two-base error, and scored on a single by sophomore Bryson Medious (Columbia). A sacrifice fly got Medious home and another run scored on a bases-loaded walk.

The Wildcats broke it open with four runs in the second. Medious smacked a one-out double and scored on another double by sophomore Derek Eberly (Blountstown, Fla.).

Freshman Noah Barron (Hoover, Ala.) drove in Eberly, and Barron scored on a two-run home run by freshman Wiley Cleland (Columbia), his first of the season.

PRCC added two more runs in the fourth on a two-run double by sophomore Simon Landry (Ponchatoula, La.) and the game ended on the run-rule in the sixth with an RBI single by Barron.

Page (8-1) allowed just two hits, struck out eight and did not walk a batter.

The Lions jumped ahead in the second game with two runs in the first inning and four in the second to take a 4-0 lead.

But freshman right-hander Colin Danley (Lucedale) came out of the bullpen to pitch four scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and striking out seven without walking a batter, and he improved his record to 2-1 when the Wildcats rallied.

“Colin is a kid who’s had some good outings for us, then he’s had a couple of games where he’s struggled a bit,” said Avalon. “He did a great job of keeping us in the game. He’s a guy who can help us down the stretch.”

Pearl River started its comeback in the fourth, when Landry drew a walk to lead off and Barron followed with a triple to rightfield. Barron then scored on a wild pitch.

Taylor was hit by a pitch to lead off the fifth inning and Medious tied it up with a soaring shot to leftfield for his seventh homer of the season.

The Wildcats took the lead with two runs without a hit. Cleland was hit by a pitch leading off and sophomore Kevin Carter (Gulfport) drew a walk with one out. A passed ball moved the runners to second and third and a wild pitch allowed both runs to score.

Sophomore right-hander Colby White (Foxworth) gave up two singles to open the seventh inning, and a groundout moved the runners up to second and third. But White blew six straight fastballs past the next two batters for strikeouts to seal his eighth save of the season.

PRCC travels to Ellisville on Tuesday for a 3 p.m. showdown with second-place Jones County in what is likely to be a clash of two of the top five teams in NJCAA Division II. The Wildcats will also be on the road next Saturday to face Holmes.

“We’re excited about going up there,” said Avalon of Tuesday’s Cat Fight. “It’s going to be two great baseball teams going at it. This is why we do what we do. I’m sure it’s going to be a great atmosphere and we’re looking forward to it.”