SCOOBA – In their first home baseball game action in more than two weeks, the Lions of East Mississippi Community College opened their current two-week home stand by collecting a Tuesday doubleheader split with Northeast Mississippi during a pair of run-rule MACJC contests played at Gerald Poole Field. EMCC bounced back from a 10-1 setback in the opener to shut out the visiting Tigers, 10-0, in the five-inning nightcap.
After being limited to just four hits and a solo run in the opening contest, the Lions set the tone early in the second game by scoring six runs while batting around in the first inning against Northeast starting pitcher Tanner Smith. In a frame that included two walks and back-to-back hit batsmen, EMCC received run-scoring hits from William Garriga, Matt Inlow and Destin Payton.
The Tigers threatened twice to cut into the early deficit, but EMCC's Wesley Grantham stranded the bases loaded in the second and third innings to keep the shutout intact. A pair of singles to Northeast's Tyler Samaniego those two frames were the only hits allowed by the freshman left-hander during the contest.
Grantham, out of Central Hinds Academy, struck out five and walked four over five innings en route to the run-rule, complete-game victory to improve to 2-0 on the year.
On the heels of a two-out RBI single by Philip Martin in the fourth inning, the Lions reached the run-rule margin a frame later with Chance Witt's two-run single followed by a bases-loaded walk to Dillon Brown.
In the nightcap, Witt, Martin and Garriga all had two hits apiece to pace EMCC's nine-hit team effort.
The opening game initially featured a pitchers' duel between a pair of freshman right-handers from the neighboring state of Alabama in EMCC's Jaxen Forrester (Spanish Fort) and Jake Christa of Northeast (Huntsville).
Following a pair of scoreless innings to begin the opener, the visitors grabbed a 1-0 lead in the third on Connar Boyer's two-out solo home run. The Lions answered the following frame with a two-out solo shot by Dillon Brown for his third home run of the year.
A 1-1 contest turned one-sided during the fifth and sixth innings when the Tiger bats broke loose. In the fifth, two-run doubles by Boyer and Jacob Wilcher accounted for four runs to make it 5-1. A frame later, a leadoff homer by Samaniego ignited a five-run sixth for Northeast that also featured an RBI triple by Wilcher.
Other than their two-out tally in the fourth inning, the Lions could only manage leadoff hits by Anthony Hickman in the first, Grantham in the fifth and Brown in the seventh. While scattering the four hits over seven innings of the scheduled nine-inning opener, Northeast's Christa struck out seven and didn't issue a walk during his complete-game victory.
Coach Chris Rose's EMCC Lions (13-23, 6-16) continue their current two-week home stand by playing host to the Bulldogs of Mississippi Gulf Coast during a Saturday afternoon doubleheader on the Scooba campus. First pitch is set for 2 p.m. at EMCC's Gerald Poole Field.