MARION, Ala. – A come-from-behind, extra-inning 10-9 softball win in the opening game lifted the Lions of East Mississippi Community College to a road doubleheader sweep over Marion Military Institute Thursday afternoon. EMCC completed the sweep with a 6-2 victory over MMI in the nightcap.
Down 7-3 after five innings in the opening contest, the visitors cut the deficit in half with a pair of two-out runs in the top of the sixth. After MMI starting pitcher Bryndi-Alyn Ward had retired 10 consecutive EMCC batters following Magnolia Keller's team-leading third home run of the season – a two-run shot in the third – Kaitlyn Brannon ignited a two-out rally with a hit and later scored the first of the two runs.
An eventful seventh inning plated six runs between the two teams. En route to a 4-for-5 outing at the plate in the opener, Lion shortstop Averi Pender led off the frame with a single and was driven home by Kendall Wilkinson's double. After Ashley Vickers knotted the score at 7-7 with a pinch-hit, RBI single, Treasure Lynch came up big with a two-out, two-run hit at the bottom of the lineup to give EMCC a 9-7 lead.
With sophomore right-hander Jordan Self in relief of EMCC starting pitcher Ciara Steward, the Lady Tigers took advantage of a pair of hit-batsmen to tie the game back up at 9-all on Lexie Green's two-out, two-run hit in the bottom of the seventh.
The Lions bounced right back in the top of the eighth. Following back-to-back singles by Sydney Olander and Pender to open the frame, they were moved into scoring position on Wilkinson's sacrifice bunt. Keller, a freshman from D'Iberville, then supplied the final margin with a sacrifice fly to right field for her third RBI of the contest.
Totaling 15 hits as a team in the opener, the Lions also had multiple-hit efforts by Brannon, Lynch and Rachel Rooney. Both Lynch and Keller drove in three runs apiece. With Steward and Self both throwing four innings in the first game, Self notched her fourth career win and first of the season.
During the nightcap, EMCC overcame an early 1-0 deficit by reaching MMI starting pitcher Amanda Ingram for four runs in the top of the third inning. The key hit for the Lions was Wilkinson's two-out, two-run single that brought home Vance and Olander.
As EMCC freshman right-hander Carly Thompson continued to hold the Lady Tiger hitters in check during the latter innings, the visitors tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the seventh inning for the final four-run margin. Wilkinson and Brannon each knocked in runs during the final frame for their third hits of the contest. A sophomore from Cullman, Alabama, Brannon also had three hits in the opener to finish the afternoon 6-for-8 at the plate with three runs scored.
Thompson, a product of Germantown High School, scattered seven hits over seven innings, along with recording four strikeouts and two walks, to pick up her first collegiate victory with the complete-game decision.
Coach Kyndall White's 3-12 EMCC Lions are slated to begin conference action Tuesday with a home doubleheader against the Lady Trojans of Mississippi Delta Community College. First pitch is set for 2 p.m. at the EMCC Softball Field on the Scooba campus.