BOONEVILLE – In a slugfest that featured 32 combined runs, 29 total hits, six errors and 12 different pitchers, the East Mississippi Community College baseball team held on for an 18-14 win over Northeast Mississippi Community College Tuesday night at Harold T. White Field. EMCC's protest of the second game of the doubleheader was upheld by the MACJC office and resumption of play will be scheduled for a later date.
The Lions scored in all but one frame of the nine-inning opener and held two double-digit leads before hanging on for their fifth straight conference win. Resumption of the scheduled seven-inning nightcap is slated to begin in the bottom of the sixth inning with the score tied at 1-1.
The visitors staked starting pitcher Whitt Davis to an early 5-3 lead before stretching the margin to twin digits during the middle innings. Marcus Ragan's first of two solo homers in the game followed by Ja'Coby Cole's two-out, two-run double first increased the lead to 8-3 after five innings. A frame later, the Lions batted around with the help of a pair of Northeast fielding miscues to tally six more runs and extend the margin to 11 runs. Austin Lowther highlighted EMCC's six-run sixth with a two-out, three-run blast for his fourth home run in the last nine games.
Following an exchange of home runs by Northeast's Bailey Walker in the bottom of the sixth and Mike Farnell's team-leading seventh homer of the year in the seventh that made it a 16-6 contest, the Tigers took advantage of three walks, a hit batsman and consecutive fielding errors by EMCC to put up eight runs on only three hits in the bottom of the seventh to make it a two-run game.
The Lions responded to Northeast's big inning by scoring a run in each of the last two innings while turning the game over to their bullpen. Alex Knight's two-out RBI single in the eighth was followed the next inning by Ragan's second homer and fourth extra-base hit of the game. After Garrett Ainsworth kept the Tigers off the board in the eighth, EMCC closer Eli Leathers worked out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the ninth by striking out Parker Haberstroh and getting Garrison Howell to fly out for the game's final out.
With two home runs and a pair doubles in addition to scoring five runs during six at-bats from his leadoff spot, Ragan sparked EMCC's 17-hit attack in the opening contest. Along with improving to 4-1 on the mound with his five-inning pitching effort, Davis went 3-for-5 at the plate with two doubles and two runs batted in.
Winners of eight of their last nine decisions, Coach Chris Rose's EMCC Lions, 22-13 overall and 12-9 in conference play, travel to Perkinston to take on the Bulldogs of Mississippi Gulf Coast in a 2 p.m. Saturday doubleheader at Ken "Curly" Farris Field.