SCOOBA – Smacking seven home runs on the day and limiting visiting Nunez Community College to just six total hits, the Lions of East Mississippi Community College claimed 17-2 and 10-4 baseball victories Saturday afternoon at Gerald Poole Field.
Five of EMCC's homers were three-run shots, while eight different Lion pitchers saw mound duty, during the team's doubleheader sweep over the Pelicans from Chalmette, Louisiana.
The Lions broke open the first game of the day with a nine-run third inning that featured three-run blasts by Philip Martin and Anthony Hickman. EMCC later added three-run homers by Armani Lewis and William Garriga in the fourth and sixth innings, respectively. Fellow sophomore Ja'Coby Cole contributed a solo shot in the fifth frame.
Led by Martin's 3-for-3 effort at the plate, six players had multiple-hit outings, including five with three runs batted in apiece, during the Lions' 16-hit explosion in the opening game. Freshman Dillon Brown joined Hickman, Garriga and Lewis with two hits and three RBIs each during the opener.
Freshman left-hander Christopher "Boomer" Maurin, from Pascagoula, only allowed a pair of unearned runs on just two hits, while striking out two and walking a pair working into the fifth inning, to notch his first collegiate victory. Fellow freshman Frankie Hefflinger, out of Center Hill High School, didn't give up a hit over the final three scoreless innings with three strikeouts and two walks.
The two teams traded two-run tallies in the opening frame of the nightcap. A leadoff home run by Nunez' Dominic Curole off EMCC's Martin was countered by Hickman's RBI double. After the Pelicans took a 4-2 lead an inning later on Zachary Dorcey's two-run double, the Lions reclaimed the advantage in the bottom half of the frame on run-scoring hits by Garriga and Destin Payton along with a sacrifice fly from Hickman.
The home run ball returned for the home team in the third inning when the Lions went deep two more times to provide the final scoring of the nightcap. With two outs, EMCC put five straight batters on base that resulted in a three-run homer by Brown followed by a two-run blast from Hickman.
Hickman, a sophomore shortstop out of Pearl River Central High School, powered the Lions' eight-hit team effort with a 2-for-3 outing at the plate in the nightcap with four runs batted in. Payton reached base safely all four times, including a pair of hits and three runs scored from the leadoff spot.
With his 2.2 innings of middle relief work, sophomore right-hander Garrett Ainsworth earned his second win of the year in as many decisions. As six Lion hurlers combined for 10 strikeouts and only four hits allowed, Wesley Grantham, Weston Acey and Hickman all pitched solo scoreless innings to preserve the 10-4 nightcap win and complete the sweep for EMCC.
After having their scheduled Sunday doubleheader at Shelton State cancelled due to overnight rains, head coach Chris Rose's 3-5 EMCC Lions are slated to take on the University of West Alabama's junior varsity team in a 1 p.m. Wednesday road doubleheader in Livingston.