SCOOBA – Despite an 11-strikeout effort by sophomore Whitt Davis, the East Mississippi Community College baseball team dropped a hard-luck 1-0 nightcap decision en route to being swept by Wallace State Community College in a Wednesday home doubleheader played at Gerald Poole Field. The visitors from Hanceville, Alabama also earned a shutout victory (15-0) in the opening game.
Featuring a classic pitcher's duel between EMCC's Davis and Blake Rivera of Wallace State, the nightcap remained scoreless until the fifth inning. Following Kolby Robinson's one-out double, he then stole third and was brought home on Conner Daniel's sacrifice fly to center field.
The inning prior, the home-standing Lions mounted their first of two primary scoring threats in the contest. EMCC sophomore Marcus Ragan led off the fourth with an infield single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Armani Lewis. After an intentional walk to Mike Farnell, Ragan and courtesy runner Wesley Leamon moved into scoring position on a double steal. However, Rivera struck out Ja'Coby Cole to end the initial rally.
Two innings later against Wallace State reliever Braxton Light, EMCC put together a bases-loaded, two-out threat. Ragan again started the rally with a leadoff single and promptly stole second. Later in the frame with two outs, Farnell was intentionally walked again and Cole was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Anthony Hickman then hit a slow roller to second and was barely beaten to the first-base bag by Light to keep the home team off the scoreboard.
Pitching in tough luck through five solid innings, EMCC's Davis, from Huntsville, Alabama, allowed just two hits and a pair of walks along with his 11 strikeouts. Relievers Luke Templeton and Eli Leathers combined to hold the visitors in check during the final two frames.
EMCC out-hit Wallace State, 4-3, in the error-free nightcap. Along with Ragan's pair of hits, Farnell and Tucker Calhoun also contributed singles.
The opening contest remained competitive through four innings, as Wallace State tallied an unearned run in the second and then added two more scores in the fourth on Austin Triplett's two-out, two-run single.
As the host Lions struggled to get a runner into scoring position off WSCC starting pitcher Jesse Scott, the visitors erupted for four runs in the fifth and doubled that with an eight-run sixth inning to get to the run-rule margin and snap EMCC's seven-game winning streak.
EMCC was out-hit, 14-2, in the opener with Ragan and Austin Lowther each hitting safely. In contrast, Wallace State, now 18-4 on the year, had five players with multi-hit efforts, including Robinson's 3-for-3 outing and Triplett capping his six-RBI performance with a sixth-inning grand slam.
Coach Chris Rose's 9-3 EMCC Lions are scheduled to play road doubleheaders against Shelton State Community College and the University of West Alabama's junior varsity team on Saturday and Monday, respectively, during spring break week.