SCOOBA – East Mississippi Community College's 2018 baseball season came to a close with 8-4 and 4-0 home setbacks to Southwest Mississippi during Saturday's MACJC action played at Gerald Poole Field.
The home-standing Lions grabbed the early advantage in the opener on Max Rinebolt's two-run home run off Southwest starting pitcher Brendon Baker in the first inning. Rinebolt's first collegiate homer came with two outs after Dillon Brown had opened the frame with a double.
After the Bears answered with a run in the second on Kyle Singleton's groundout that plated T Tez Cole following his leadoff double, the visitors added solo tallies in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings to take a 4-2 lead. Payton Yawn's RBI double in the fifth was followed by Cole's leadoff homer an inning later and Michael Buck's run-scoring infield out in the seventh.
Following five scoreless innings in which Baker limited the Lions to just two singles, EMCC's bats came back around in the seventh. Destin Payton smacked an RBI triple and then tied the score at 4-4 on Brown's single to center field off reliever Cody Miller.
Southwest answered promptly by manufacturing a run in the eighth to take the lead for good. Singleton doubled and moved to third on a groundout before scampering home on Weston Acey's wild pitch thrown during a walk issued to Will Ford. An inning later off EMCC's Jaxen Forrester, Singleton's two-out RBI triple – his third extra-base hit of the game – capped a three-run frame that sealed the victory for the Bears.
Out-hit, 12-7, in the opener, EMCC was led at the plate by Rinebolt, Brown and Ken Dill with three hits apiece.
In the nightcap, EMCC's bats were silenced by a quartet of Southwest pitchers. Headed by starting pitcher Daren Smith, the Bears limited the Lions to just a third-inning, two-out single by Brown that struck the base umpire on a sharply hit grounder to short. Following Smith's solid four-inning stint with seven strikeouts and two walks, Southwest relievers Cody Ross, Sy Odom and Mitchell Foreman each worked scoreless innings to preserve the one-hit shutout for the visitors.
Not to be lost in the low-scoring nightcap, Frankie Hefflinger pitched effectively in a tough-luck loss for the Lions. The freshman right-hander out of Center Hill High School scattered six singles over six innings while striking out four and not issuing a walk.
The Bears scored their first two runs of the second game on two-out hits by Cole and Isaiah Davis in the first and fourth innings, respectively. Southwest then added a pair of insurance runs on a sixth-inning passed ball that allowed two unearned runs to cross home plate.
Coach Chris Rose's EMCC Lions finished the 2018 baseball campaign with a 13-29 overall record and 6-22 conference mark within MACJC play.