DECATUR – After dropping a hard-fought 9-8 decision in the opener on a walk-off, the visiting Lions of East Mississippi Community fell 10-4 in the nightcap to East Central Community College Saturday afternoon at the Clark/Gay Baseball Complex.
During the back-and-forth, nine-inning opener, the Warriors began the scoring in the opening frame with a leadoff home run by Jacob Edwards off EMCC starting pitcher Vijay Miller. After the Lions tied the score on Orrion Bailey's run-producing sacrifice bunt in the third, East Central tacked on solo scores in the third and fourth frames to take a 3-1 lead.
The lead changed hands a couple of times during the middle innings. In the fifth, a pair of ECCC infield errors coupled with consecutive two-out RBI hits from Mike Farnell and Whitt Davis enabled the visitors to take a short-lived 5-3 advantage. The Warriors countered with three runs in the bottom half to briefly reclaim the lead at 6-5.
An inning later, run-scoring singles by Bailey and Anthony Hickman put the Lions back on top 7-6. The two teams then traded solo scores on Billy Cameron's RBI single in the seventh prior to Hickman's two-out RBI single in the eighth to set up the ninth inning.
After Brock Morris, ECCC's fifth pitcher of the game, set the Lions down in order in the top half of the final frame, EMCC stopper Eli Leathers looked to close out the game after thwarting a potential Warrior rally in the eighth by getting Edwards to line into an inning-ending double play. In the home half of the ninth, Cameron walked with one out and Cole Prestegard singled to right. A fielder's choice off the bat of Ty Alderman put runners on the corners with two outs. Following Johntrell Pickens' pinch-hit, game-tying RBI single and a subsequent infield throwing error that advanced both runners into scoring position, Wyatt Ball's hard grounder to right field on a full-count pitch sent home the winning run.
The Lions had 10 hits as a team in the opener, led by 2-for-4 outings at the plate by Hickman and Corley Reynolds.
In the seven-inning nightcap, the Warriors posted multi-run efforts during each of the first three frames to take an early 8-1 advantage and establish control of the game. A pair of unearned runs in the second off EMCC starting pitcher Bubba Stockstill was sandwiched between three-run frames in the first and third that were highlighted by two-out, two-run hits by Tyler Ladner and Luke Yancey, respectively.
Late in the game, the teams swapped two-run homers to decide the final margin. In the bottom of the sixth, Brandon Clark's two-run shot off EMCC's Walker Kelly stretched the Warriors' lead to 10-2. The Lions countered an inning later with Alex Knight's pinch-hit, two-run blast to the opposite field off Preston Krummel to account for the final score.
With nine hits as a team in the second game, the Lions were led by Marcus Ragan, who had an RBI triple in the third and a seventh-inning double. Farnell and Austin Lowther also added two hits apiece for EMCC in the nightcap.
Coach Chris Rose's 14-12 EMCC Lions, 4-8 within the conference, will be at home for four consecutive upcoming doubleheaders, beginning with Tuesday's twin bill against the Coahoma Tigers. First pitch is set for noon at Gerald Poole Field on the Scooba campus.