CHALMETTE, La. – The Lions of East Mississippi Community College swept Nunez Community College for the second time within a week's span by posting 12-10 and 8-1 road victories over the home-standing Pelicans Saturday afternoon in Louisiana.
EMCC smacked five home runs against Nunez in the first game but had to come from behind to prevail in extra innings, while Anthony Hickman's fifth-inning grand slam provided the winning margin in the nightcap. Last Saturday (Feb. 24) in Scooba, the Lions claimed a 17-2, 10-4 home doubleheader sweep over the Pelicans.
In the opening game of Saturday's rematch, the Lions got on the board with solo home runs from Ja'Coby Cole and Chance Witt in the second and fourth innings, respectively, but trailed, 5-2, after five innings. Though not reliant on the long ball this particular inning, the visitors used four singles and a double to push across three runs in the top of the sixth to knot the score at 5-5.
A frame later, EMCC seemed to take control of the game with four runs in the top of the seventh. Dillon Brown's RBI single was followed by Philip Martin's three-run homer – his third of the year – to make it a 9-5 game. The Pelicans responded with four runs of their own in the bottom half of the frame with the aid of control problems by EMCC pitching and a pair of infield miscues.
The Lions answered right back in the eighth with a leadoff homer from Hickman followed by Brown's two-run blast to push the score to 12-9. Nunez mounted another rally in its final at-bat, but Hickman moved to the mound from his shortstop position to strand two runners in scoring position by recording the game's final two outs with strikeouts.
EMCC's 17-hit explosion in the opening game featured seven players with multiple hits. Hickman and William Garriga had three hits apiece, while Brown, Martin, Witt, Cole and catcher Matt Inlow all followed with two hits apiece for the winners.
After taking an early 1-0 lead with a solo tally in the first inning of the nightcap, the Lions staked starting pitcher Frankie Hefflinger to a 6-0 lead with five runs in the top of the fifth inning. The big blow was a grand slam by Hickman, who has now hit his six home runs on the year over the last eight games. The Pearl River Central High School product added a leadoff double in the seventh inning to finish the doubleheader 6-for-9 at the plate with two homers, three doubles, five runs batted in and four runs scored.
Nunez's lone run of the nightcap came in the bottom of the fifth, but the Lions answered with a pair of runs in the seventh on run-scoring hits from Garriga and Brown.
EMCC's 10-hit team effort in the second contest was paced by Hickman's 3-for-4 showing that included two doubles to go along with his grand slam. Garriga and Brown added two hits apiece and each drove in a pair of runs in the nightcap.
On the mound for the Lions, Hefflinger, a freshman right-hander out of Center Hill High School, struck out eight and walked three, while scattering five hits over five-plus innings, to notch his first collegiate victory.
Coach Chris Rose's 6-6 EMCC Lions are scheduled to play host to Shelton State Community College in a 1 p.m. Tuesday doubleheader at Gerald Poole Field on the Scooba campus.