EMCC Lions finish season with 25-20 baseball record following playoff sweep at Hinds

EMCC Lions finish season with 25-20 baseball record following playoff sweep at Hinds

RAYMOND – East Mississippi Community College's baseball season drew to a close with Friday night's 11-1 road setback to third-seeded Hinds Community College in Game 2 of an MACJC best-of-three playoff series played at Joe G. Moss Field.

Seeded eighth in the postseason playoffs following a 15-13 regular-season conference mark, Coach Chris Rose's EMCC Lions closed out the 2017 campaign with a 25-20 overall record in making their fourth postseason appearance under his guidance.

Following Thursday night's 9-4 playoff loss at Hinds in Game 1, EMCC surrendered a pair of four-run innings to the Eagles to begin the early stages of Friday's contest in an insurmountable hole.  In the opening frame, Quinton Logan's two-out, two-run double off EMCC starting pitcher Whitt Davis capped Hinds' four-run first.  The Eagles then batted through the order in the second to plate another four scores.  The big blow of the inning was Kyle Schimpf's bases-clearing, two-out double off Lion ace Vijay Miller, who replaced Davis earlier in the frame.      

The Lions' only offense of the contest came in the second inning.  Mike Farnell opened the frame with a leadoff walk and was bunted to second by Corley Reynolds.  Following Alex Knight's infield hit to third, De'Andre Pitts drove home EMCC's lone run of the game with a single to left field.

But, that was the only offensive threat mounted by the Lions off Hinds' Adam Jackson.  The sophomore left-hander retired the last nine batters he faced to improve to 4-2 on the year.

The Eagles batted through the lineup again in the fourth inning to shorten the contest with the run-rule victory.  After Miller retired the first two batters of the inning, a two-out walk to Schimpf was followed by Braedon Barrett's double.  Logan's sharply hit grounder to first then brought home two runs to lengthen the lead to 10-1.  Later in the frame, Will Craft was hit by a Miller pitch with the bases loaded to extend the margin to 10 runs.

For the season, sophomore center fielder Marcus Ragan was the Lions' team batting champion with a .395 average.  The Warren Central High School product had 27 extra-base hits on the year, including 13 doubles, eight triples and six home runs, along with a club-best 25 stolen bases in 28 attempts.  Farnell, a catcher from Spanish Fort, Alabama, batted .380 with a team-high 10 home runs in addition to 36 runs batted in and 12 doubles.  Davis, from Huntsville, Alabama, paced the 2017 Lions with 40 RBIs, including six homers, while co-leading EMCC's pitching staff with five victories in seven decisions.

Miller, a freshman right-hander who also plays quarterback on EMCC's nationally ranked football team, was 5-0 on the mound in 10 starts for the Lions this spring.  The Itawamba AHS product had 54 strikeouts in 47.2 innings pitched as a collegiate rookie.