WESSON – The Lions of East Mississippi Community College extended their softball winning streak to eight consecutive games and remained unbeaten in MACJC play by sweeping Copiah-Lincoln Community College, 5-3 and 3-1, on the road Friday afternoon.
In compiling their longest win string since putting together a nine-game streak in 2013, the EMCC Lions had 10 hits in both contests against Co-Lin. In the circle, freshman right-handers AG Stewart and Carly Thompson each threw three-hit complete games during the doubleheader sweep.
The visitors had to come from behind in the opening game after the Lady Wolves tallied a pair of first-inning runs and added another score in the second off Stewart to stake Co-Lin starting pitcher Bailey Root to an early 3-0 lead.
The Lions cut the deficit to 3-2 in the third with consecutive two-out RBI singles from sophomores Averi Pender and Kendall Wilkinson following Treasure Lynch's lead-off single and subsequent stolen base. That's when Stewart began to find her groove in the circle. Following a lead-off walk to Jamie Martin in the third, she went on to retire Co-Lin's last 15 batters over the final five frames.
Meanwhile, EMCC put up solo runs in each of the last three innings to complete the comeback victory. After Wilkinson added to her team-leading RBI total with another run-scoring single in the fifth, the Lions used a one-out double by Rachel Rooney to push across the go-ahead run a frame later. Three Co-Lin errors in the top of the seventh preceded Mallory Vance's two-out, bases-loaded infield single that gave the visitors an insurance run.
Stewart improved to 2-3 on the year by going the distance for the Lions. The Pisgah High School product walked three and allowed just three singles through the first three innings before shutting down the Lady Wolves the remainder of the opening contest.
Offensively in the opener, EMCC received multi-hit efforts from Vance, Wilkinson and Sydney Olander.
It was the Lions' turn to get on the scoreboard first in the nightcap. Leading off the contest, Vance doubled down the left-field line before stealing third and racing home on a wild pitch thrown by Co-Lin starter Christian Black.
Thompson continued EMCC's dominance in the circle by retiring the first nine Co-Lin batters she faced in the nightcap. The Germantown High School product had previously retired the last 14 batters during Wednesday's 7-4 road win over Holmes.
The Lions gave Thompson another run to work with by plating a two-out run in the fourth. Following Layton Sills' base hit, courtesy runner Kiera Phillips promptly stole second. She then raced home all the way from second on Lynch's slow roller in front of the catcher when no one covered home plate.
Despite allowing lead-off singles in the fourth and fifth innings, Thompson pitched out of trouble both innings and was backed by some EMCC defensive gems to temporarily keep the Lady Wolves off the board. Co-Lin did manage to manufacture a run in the sixth when Kamryn Vanlandingham led off the inning and stole second before moving to third on an infield out and scoring on a passed ball.
The Lions got back the insurance run in the top of the seventh on Wilkinson's two-out RBI double that scored Olander.
That unearned run was all Thompson would surrender in going the distance to record her fourth straight win and move to 4-4 on the year. She walked two and struck out one in addition to allowing just the three lead-off singles.
With 10 more hits as a team in the nightcap, the Lions had multi-hit outings by Vance, Pender, Wilkinson and Lynch.
Coach Kyndall White's 9-12 EMCC Lions, 6-0 within the MACJC, will play their third conference twin bill in five days by playing host to Southwest Mississippi in a 3 p.m. Sunday doubleheader at the EMCC Softball Field on the Scooba campus.