SCOOBA – Matt Inlow's two-out, walk-off RBI single gave East Mississippi Community College an 8-7 nightcap home win over Shelton State Community College during Tuesday evening baseball action at Gerald Poole Field. The visiting Bucs claimed a 7-4 victory over the Lions in the opening game of the doubleheader.
With reigning NJCAA Pitcher of the Week Jaxen Forrester on the mound for EMCC in the second game, the Lions owned a seemingly comfortable 7-1 lead after four innings. A two-run, second-inning home run by Gage Nyman was sandwiched between a pair of Dillon Brown sacrifice flies in the first and third innings. Ja'Coby Cole's third homer of the year – a solo shot – followed by Anthony Hickman's two-out, two-run double in the fourth produced EMCC's six-run advantage.
With one swing of the bat, however, Shelton State quickly cut the deficit to 7-5 on Alan Smith's two-out grand slam off Forrester in the fifth inning. After EMCC reliever Garrett Brown worked out of a bases-loaded jam unscathed the next frame, the Bucs then knotted the score at 7-7 in the seventh without the benefit of a hit. Four walks and a hit batsman in the inning allowed the game-tying runs and forced the Lions to earn the victory in the home half of the frame.
From his clean-up spot in the lineup, Dillon Brown responded with a two-out double to right field off SSCC reliever Ross Carpenter. On the heels of a 3-for-3 outing at the plate in the opener, Inlow followed with his game-winner to right-center field to earn the doubleheader split for the Lions.
With two hits apiece in the nightcap, Inlow, Hickman, Cole and Nyman all paced EMCC's 11-hit team effort. Seven of those 11 hits were for extra bases.
In the opening game, the visitors from Tuscaloosa scored in all but one inning by getting the leadoff batter on base each time, while the home-standing Lions couldn't take advantage of some early scoring opportunities. EMCC's seven errors in the first contest also contributed to the setback.
After leaving Destin Payton stranded at third following his leadoff triple in the first inning, the Lions came up empty again the next inning after loading the bases with only one out.
Before the Lions could get on the scoreboard in the fourth on Inlow's run-scoring double, Shelton State had reached EMCC starting pitcher Chance Witt for solo scores in the first, third and fourth innings. An unearned run in the fifth off reliever Luke Templeton stretched the Shelton State lead to 4-1.
The Lions manufactured a solo tally in the fifth and then scored two more runs a frame later, but the Bucs put up three additional runs over the last two innings to secure the opening-game road victory. SSCC's Sage Smelley smacked a two-out solo homer in the sixth and another unearned run an inning later provided the final margin.
Inlow, a freshman catcher out of Pascagoula, accounted for three of EMCC's seven total hits in the day's first contest.
Coach Chris Rose's 7-7 EMCC Lions are slated to take on the University of West Alabama's junior varsity team in a Sunday afternoon doubleheader in Livingston. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. at UWA's Tartt Field.