EMCC Lions fall twice, 9-2 and 9-8, in MACJC baseball action at Coahoma

EMCC Lions fall twice, 9-2 and 9-8, in MACJC baseball action at Coahoma

CLARKSDALE – East Mississippi Community College fell twice, 9-2 and 9-8, at Coahoma Community College during Tuesday afternoon MACJC baseball action played at the Eddie C. Smith Sportsplex.

A slow start in the opening game by the visitors and late-game comeback heroics by the home-standing Tigers in the nightcap resulted in the sweep, as the Lions began their two-week stretch of playing four straight baseball doubleheaders away from home.

In the opening game at Coahoma, EMCC took advantage of back-to-back hit batsmen to begin the game with Dillon Brown bringing home Anthony Hickman on a groundout.      

After the Tigers answered with two runs in the bottom of the first on Marquellus Edgeston's two-run single, Coahoma benefitted from some EMCC miscues and early control problems by starting pitcher Jaxen Forrester a frame later to score four more runs.  A run-scoring single by Joe Gee was followed by a hit batsman and four consecutive walks to help contribute to CCC's early 6-2 advantage.

The scheduled nine-inning opening game then settled into a pitchers' duel between Forrester and Coahoma's Eduardo Munoz.  Forrester, a freshman right-hander, allowed only one hit between the third and sixth innings before giving way to Garrett Ainsworth.  For the Tigers, Munoz, out of Panama, scattered five hits over the final 6.2 scoreless innings.

Coahoma went through the batting order again in the eighth inning on the way to producing three more runs on back-to-back RBI doubles by Zac Gilder and Edgeston.

Freshman Gage Nyman led EMCC's seven-hit team outing in the opener by reaching base safely in all four plate appearances, including two singles and a hit batsman.

The seven-inning nightcap featured four lead changes before Coahoma came back from an early 5-0 deficit to win with a walk-off hit in the bottom of the seventh.

The Lions grabbed the early advantage with a run in the first inning on Philip Martin's run-scoring groundout that plated William Garriga after he doubled.  EMCC then added four more runs on five hits a frame later off Coahoma pitcher Rafael De Leon.  Hickman's two-out, two-run double was sandwiched between RBI singles from Luke Miller and Garriga.

After Coahoma got on the board with a pair of two-out runs off EMCC starting pitcher Wesley Grantham in the third inning, the Tigers batted around the next frame to put up four runs and take a 6-5 lead.  The key hit in the inning was Gilder's two-run single.

The fifth inning saw the visitors reclaim the lead, 7-6, on Miller's clutch two-out, two-run double, only to have Coahoma tie the game in the bottom half of the frame.  CCC's Matthew Newcomb doubled and then raced home after stealing third on an errant throw.   

That set the stage for an even more dramatic final inning.  In the top of the seventh, EMCC's Ja'Coby Cole capped a 3-for-3 outing at the plate with a one-out double.  Pinch-runner Isaiah Eiland then came around to score the go-ahead run on Nyman's two-out RBI double.

The Tigers had one more comeback in them during their final at-bat.  Kyler Johnson got things started with a leadoff single off EMCC reliever Weston Acey.  A subsequent sacrifice bunt, walk and balk put two runners in scoring position.  Hickman then moved to the mound from his third base position and intentionally walked Hector Torres to load the bases with one out.  At the top of the lineup, Gee delivered in the clutch with a game-winning, two-run hit to centerfield to secure the comeback win and complete the doubleheader sweep for Coahoma.

Cole and Garriga paced the Lions' 13-hit team effort with three hits apiece in the nightcap, while Nyman and Miller added two hits each for EMCC.

Coach Chris Rose's EMCC Lions, 11-17 overall and 4-10 in conference play, travel to Raymond to meet the Hinds Eagles in a 2 p.m. Friday doubleheader that was moved up one day because of Saturday's rain forecast.