SCOOBA – With their third MACJC home baseball sweep of the season, the Lions of East Mississippi Community College run-ruled visiting Coahoma Community College, 14-4, in the opening game and then held on for a 4-1 nightcap victory over the Tigers during Tuesday doubleheader action at Gerald Poole Field.
EMCC got on the board first in the scheduled nine-inning opener on Austin Lowther's two-out, two-run single in the first inning off Coahoma starting pitcher Eduardo Munoz. Following Anthony Hickman's RBI single in the third, Lowther then made it 5-0 with his first home run of the season – a two-out, two-run blast.
The Lions got to the Tigers' bullpen in the fourth by batting around en route to scoring six runs on five hits. The big hits in the frame were Mike Farnell's team-leading sixth home run of the year – a two-run, opposite-field shot – and Ja'Coby Cole's two-run single.
Sophomore right-hander Whitt Davis carried the 11-0 EMCC lead into the fifth inning. After facing the minimum through the first three frames and allowing just two singles through four innings, Davis ran into some fifth-inning difficulty. The Huntsville, Alabama product gave up four runs before handing the ball to Walker Kelly, who kept the visitors in check for the final 2.1 innings. Davis improved to 2-1 on the year with the victory.
After getting two of those runs back and leading 13-4 following RBI singles from Corley Reynolds and Alex Knight in the sixth, EMCC needed another run to get to the run-rule margin. Sophomore Marcus Ragan obliged by smacking Mason Avary's first delivery of the seventh inning over the center-field wall to provide the needed 10-run cushion and end the contest. The product of Warren Central High School capped his 3-for-4 effort at the plate, which also included a third-inning triple and four runs scored in the contest, with his third homer of the year.
Totaling as many hits as runs in the opening game, the Lions also received multiple-hit outings from Hickman, Lowther, Reynolds and Knight.
In the seven-inning nightcap, EMCC provided all the run support starting pitcher Cole Whitman would need by scoring three runs in the first and adding another tally an inning later off Coahoma starter Wyatt Bailey. Lowther keyed the Lions' three-run first with his third two-RBI hit of the day, while Hickman's RBI double in the second made it 4-0.
On the mound for the Lions, Whitman threw five innings of one-hit shutout baseball before giving way to the bullpen. After three walks and three wild pitches led to Coahoma's lone run of the game in the sixth, EMCC's Bubba Stockstill inherited two base runners with no outs in the seventh. The 6-foot-7 left-hander from Pearl River Central High School promptly induced a ground ball double play and struck out the game's final batter to record his second save of the season and nail down the Lions' third doubleheader sweep of the campaign.
Whitman, a freshman southpaw from Pelham, Alabama, struck out four and walked three to pick up his first collegiate victory. Four EMCC pitchers combined to limit Coahoma to just two singles in the nightcap.
Coach Chris Rose's EMCC Lions, 16-12 overall and 6-8 within the conference, continue their current two-week home stand by playing host to the Eagles of Hinds Community College in a 2 p.m. Friday afternoon doubleheader on the Scooba campus.