SCOOBA – The Lions of East Mississippi Community College battled back to secure a home baseball doubleheader split with Mississippi Delta with an 11-10 extra-inning, nightcap victory during Tuesday's MACJC action at Gerald Poole Field. The visiting Trojans claimed a 13-6 win over EMCC in the opening contest.
The Lions' twin-bill split didn't come without some anxious moments, however, as they had to rebound from letting a late four-run lead get away and then overcome a two-run deficit in the extra frame to earn the win.
In the nightcap, EMCC staked starting pitcher Chance Witt to an early 3-0 lead by pushing across a pair of runs in the first inning and adding a solo tally a frame later on S.T. McMurrian's two-out RBI double.
After the Trojans trimmed the deficit to 3-2 with runs in the fourth and fifth innings, the Lions extended the lead to 6-2 with three runs in the fifth. Consecutive run-scoring singles by Witt and Matt Inlow were followed by a bases-loaded walk to Destin Payton to give the home team more breathing room entering the late innings.
A two-run sixth inning by both teams then set the stage for an eventful finish with EMCC owning an 8-4 advantage heading to the seventh. In the top half of the inning, Delta reached reliever Anthony Hickman, who moved to the mound from third base, for four two-out runs. Following RBI singles by Markarius Lee and Michael Allen along with an ensuing infield error by the Lions to load the bases, Delta's Dalton Lambre stroked a clutch two-run double to knot the score. On the hit, however, Ty Riche attempted to score all the way from first and was thrown out at home to keep the game tied heading to the extra inning.
In the top half of the eighth, the Trojans started the inning by loading the bases on a single, double and an intentional walk. Left-handed reliever Garrett Brown – EMCC's 11th different pitcher used on the day - came in to minimize the damage to just two runs before stranding the bases loaded.
Likewise, the Lions began the bottom half of the frame loading the bases with no outs on a hit and two walks. Philip Martin was hit by a Brendan Painter pitch to force in EMCC's first run of the inning. With one out, Inlow's grounder to third off reliever Carson Forrester was overthrown to home plate allowing Dillon Brown and William Garriga to come around for the tying and winning runs, respectively.
EMCC's 11-hit team effort in the nightcap was led by Brown, Martin and McMurrian with two hits apiece.
The opening game featured a fast start by the Lions. Two-run singles by Brown and Payton in the second inning helped stake EMCC starting pitcher Frankie Hefflinger to an early 5-0 lead.
The visitors countered with a seven-run fourth, highlighted by Dawson Ivey's three-run homer and a two-run double by Riche, to put Delta on top for good.
With East Mississippi using seven different pitchers during the nine-inning opener, the Trojans added three-run innings in the fifth and eighth frames to account for the final margin.
Brown, a freshman outfielder from Gulfport, went 2-for-3 at the plate with two runs batted in, a pair of walks and a stolen base to pace EMCC's eight-hit team showing in the opening game.
Coach Chris Rose's EMCC Lions, 9-13 overall and 2-6 in conference play, travel to Goodman to take on the Holmes Bulldogs in a 2 p.m. Wednesday (April 4) doubleheader at Charlie Donald Field.