MERIDIAN – East Mississippi Community College's two-week stretch of four consecutive road baseball doubleheaders continued with 7-4 and 7-2 setbacks to Meridian Community College during Wednesday's MACJC action played at Scaggs Field.
With starting pitchers Jackson Bridges of Meridian and EMCC's Jaxen Forrester combining for a dozen strikeouts through the first three frames of the nine-inning opener, the home-standing Eagles got on the scoreboard first with Trace Jordan's first-inning solo home run.
The Lions tied the game at 1-1 on Dillon Brown's RBI single in the third before Meridian grabbed the lead for good with three runs in the bottom half of the frame. Following a bases-loaded, two-out walk to Zack Carter, a clutch two-run single by Blake Morris made it a 4-1 contest.
EMCC quickly answered with a pair of runs in the fourth keyed by back-to-back doubles from Chance Witt and Gage Nyman to lead off the inning. The one-run deficit was as close as the Lions would get the rest of the evening, however, as Meridian added solo tallies in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings to determine the final score.
Held scoreless over the final three innings of the opener by MCC relievers Luke Wallner and Logan McDowell, the visitors did make one final push in the top of the ninth. After William Garriga and Brown reached base with two outs, Philip Martin's opposite-field drive was snared by right fielder Sam McWilliams to end the contest.
The Lions' 12-hit team effort in the opening game was led by Nyman's 3-for-4 outing at the plate with a triple, double and single. Brown and S.T. McMurrian added two hits apiece for EMCC.
Early errors in the nightcap opened the door for the Eagles to take a 4-0 lead after two innings. A first-inning outfield miscue by the Lions allowed the game's first run to score and was followed by Morris' two-out, two-run homer off EMCC starting pitcher Garrett Brown. The following frame, CJ Hughes hit a leadoff double before stealing third and coming around to score when the throw got away.
After being limited to just three base runners through the first three innings by MCC starter David Dunn, the Lions threatened in the fourth but could only manage one run prior to leaving the bases loaded. Following Martin's single and a double by Witt to lead off the inning, EMCC got on the board with Garriga's sacrifice fly.
As they did in the opening game, the Eagles added solo scores in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings to lengthen their lead to 7-1. The visitors tried to make things interesting in the final frame as Destin Payton led off the seventh inning with his second double of the game. After Martin singled him home and Witt was hit by a pitch to load the bases again with two outs, Meridian reliever Peter Holland got Garriga to ground out and secure the doubleheader sweep for the home team.
Martin, Witt and Payton had two hits apiece to lead EMCC's eight-hit team showing in the nightcap.
Coach Chris Rose's EMCC Lions, 12-20 overall and 5-13 in conference play, will travel to Poplarville to meet the sixth-ranked Pearl River Wildcats in a 2 p.m. Saturday doubleheader at Dub Herring Park.