RAYMOND – Despite outhitting third-seeded Hinds Community College, the eighth-seeded Lions of East Mississippi Community College dropped a 9-4 decision in Thursday's opening game of an MACJC best-of-three baseball playoff series being played at Joe G. Moss Field.
Game 2 of the series at Hinds was pushed back to a 7 p.m. Friday night start because of the rain that moved through the state earlier in the day. The third and deciding game, if necessary, is slated for 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon in Raymond.
The first of EMCC's 11 hits Thursday night gave the visitors an early 1-0 lead, as sophomore catcher Mike Farnell hit his team-leading 10th home run of the year in the opening frame off Hinds starting pitcher Caleb Morgan. The Eagles promptly answered with Will Craft's leadoff home run – his first of two homers on the night - in the bottom of the first off EMCC starter Bubba Stockstill to tie the game.
The Lions reclaimed the lead the next inning on Marcus Ragan's two-out, two-run double that brought home Austin Lowther and Corley Reynolds, who doubled and reached base via a hit batsman, respectively, to open the frame.
While EMCC then went six straight innings without scoring, Hinds' evening of scoring every other inning held true with a pair of runs to tie the game in the third followed by four go-ahead runs in the fifth. After Will Pierce's two-out, two-run single knotted the score at 3-all in the third, the Eagles batted through the order to score four times in the fifth and take a 7-3 lead.
Hinds extended its advantage to 9-3 in the seventh on Craft's second homer of the night – a two-out, two-run shot off EMCC's Luke Templeton. Ninth-inning doubles by Ragan and Lowther accounted for the game's final run.
With a pair of extra-base hits apiece, Ragan, Lowther and Farnell paced EMCC's 11-hit team effort. Stockstill took the loss for the 25-19 Lions in falling to 3-6 on the season.
Improving to 29-16 for the year, Hinds' nine-hit team showing was paced offensively by Craft's 3-for-4 outing at the plate with three runs batted in. Pierce and Jackson Mitchell had two hits each for the winners. Scattering nine hits over 5.2 innings, Morgan moved to 7-1 with the win. In relief, Tyler Trussell allowed just two hits and a run, with six strikeouts and two walks, over the final 3.1 innings to secure the opening-game series win for the Eagles.