SCOOBA – The Lions of East Mississippi Community College posted their second MACJC baseball doubleheader sweep of the year by knocking off visiting Holmes Community College, 18-12 and 9-6, Wednesday evening at Gerald Poole Field.
With at least one hit in every inning and six multi-run frames in the nine-inning opener, EMCC grabbed a quick 3-0 lead in the first on two-out, run-producing hits by Austin Lowther and Corley Reynolds off Holmes starting pitcher Scott Shearer.
After the Bulldogs reached EMCC starter Whitt Davis for solo home runs by Landry Newsom and Jeb Malley in the second and third innings, respectively, the Lions got those two runs back in the fourth on consecutive RBI singles from Mike Farnell and Davis.
Holmes countered with a three-run fifth to tie the game at 5-5 on the first of three home runs that Kosciusko's Brodie Threet would hit on the night. Following with four runs of their own in the bottom half of the fifth, the Lions continued their string of multi-run innings for the rest of the contest with five scores in the sixth and two tallies apiece in the seventh and eighth innings. EMCC's five-run sixth featured a two-run triple by Marcus Ragan followed two batters later by Farnell's team-leading fifth home run of the year – a two-run blast that easily cleared the visitors' bullpen area beyond right field.
Though never managing to catch back up to EMCC in the opener, the Bulldogs also continued to add to their run total as the slugfest reached the latter frames. A three-run eighth, highlighted by Threet's second homer of the game, was sandwiched between two-run innings in the seventh and ninth for Holmes.
While posting season single-game highs of 18 runs and 21 hits, the Lions featured seven players with multiple hits in the first game. Ragan, with four runs batted in from the leadoff spot, and Armani Lewis each had four hits, while Farnell added a fifth-inning double to his 3-for-5 effort at the plate with four RBIs as well.
EMCC's bats stayed hot to open the nightcap with four runs in the first off Holmes starter Sloan Dieter. That run support was more than enough early on, as starting pitcher Cole Whitman struck out seven of the first 12 batters he faced through three innings. The freshman left-hander gave way to Alex Knight in the fifth. Aided by three walks and a hit batsman, the Bulldogs pushed across four runs with just two singles in the fifth to take a brief 5-4 lead.
After EMCC manufactured the tying run in the bottom of the fifth, Holmes came right back to momentarily reclaim the lead an inning later on Threet's leadoff homer off Knight. Ignited by Farnell's leadoff double down the right-field line to cap a 6-for-8 evening for the Spanish Fort, Alabama product, the Lions wasted little time striking right back in the bottom half of the sixth. Subsequent singles by Davis and Lowther preceded Reynolds' sacrifice bunt that was thrown away at first base allowing two more runs to score. The fourth run of the inning came on Lewis' sacrifice fly.
EMCC sophomore closer Eli Leathers was lights out on the mound by coming in to strike out the side in order in the seventh to secure his fourth save of the year and nail down the Lions' second conference sweep of the season.
The Lions had a dozen hits in the nightcap to give them 33 total hits off Holmes pitching. Along with Farnell's second three-hit outing of the night, Anthony Hickman, Lowther and Lewis had two hits apiece in the second game.
Coach Chris Rose's 14-10 EMCC Lions, 4-6 in conference play, will take on the Warriors of East Central Community College in a Saturday afternoon doubleheader in Decatur. First pitch is set for 2 p.m. at ECCC's Clark/Gay Baseball Complex.