SCOOBA – The sixth-ranked East Mississippi Community College baseball team successfully opened MACJC North Division play by sweeping visiting Holmes Community College in a pair of one-run decisions, 5-4 and 4-3, Wednesday evening at EMCC's Gerald Poole Field.
In the opener, the Lions took an early 1-0 lead in the first on Chase Reeves' RBI triple that scored Chase Nyman, who led off with his first of five hits on the day. The two teams traded two-run tallies in the third inning, as the Bulldogs reached EMCC starting pitcher Chase Cameron for a pair of unearned runs in the top half and the Lions countered with three straight singles to open the home half on the way to two scores.
EMCC extended the lead to 5-2 with solo runs in the fourth and fifth frames. Reeves was the benefactor of a bases-loaded hit batsman in the fourth, while Blake Key's sacrifice fly the next inning pushed across the Lions' fifth run of the contest.
Holmes pulled to within a run with two scores in the top of the sixth. Terrell Hodges' run-scoring double chased Cameron and Chad McNeil then greeted reliever Andrew Crane with an RBI single scoring Hodges. However, the EMCC freshman right-hander from Pascagoula induced two groundouts to end the sixth. In the seventh, Crane then picked up his first collegiate save by getting Deion Ulmer to softly line out to first baseman Trent Waddell in foul territory to end the game with the potential tying run at third base.
Cameron, from Demopolis, Ala., improved his record to 3-1 on the year by allowing just three hits over 5.1 innings of work.
EMCC never trailed in the nightcap after plating a pair of runs in the bottom of the first on back-to-back sacrifice flies by Reeves and Waddell that scored Nyman and LeDarious Clark, who had both singled to open the frame.
With freshman left-hander J'Daylin Jackson holding the Bulldogs hitless until the fifth, the Lions' 2-0 lead lasted until then when Hodges led off the inning with a double and scored three batters later on Cody Sartin's single off Jackson's glove.
In a rare feat, the Lions benefitted from two additional sacrifice flies to add solo tallies in the fifth and sixth innings, giving them four sacrifice flies in the game and five on the night. Clark and Tyler Odom claimed the honors in the fifth and sixth, respectively, to give the home team a 4-2 lead heading into the final frame.
After left-handed reliever Hunter Floyd extinguished Holmes' sixth-inning threat, EMCC closer Hunter Swart attempted to seal the deal in the seventh. However, after Swart walked lead-off batter Jaylan Bledsoe, Sartin delivered again with an RBI double down the leftfield line to make it a 4-3 contest with just one out. The Lions then handed the ball to second baseman Kyle Liberto, who made his first relief appearance of the season. With three complete games in four pitching starts on the year, Liberto promptly fanned Cole Feazell and got Kyle Washington to fly out to center field to preserve the win and complete the sweep.
Jackson, from Greenville's St. Joseph Catholic School, raised his record to 4-0 on the year by surrendering two runs on four hits while striking out four and walking three.
Offensively, East Mississippi had six hits in each game while Holmes was limited to five hits during each contest. Nyman, a former Ole Miss transfer out of Pascagoula High School was 5-for-6 on the day with five singles, three runs scored and three stolen bases. Reeves, also a former Ole Miss signee by way of Hamilton, drove in three runs during the sweep.
Holmes fell to 15-5 overall and 0-2 in division play. Starting pitchers Jason Hursey and J.R. Hall took the losses for the Bulldogs in games one and two, respectively.
Coach Chris Rose's 15-5 EMCC Lions travel to Moorhead to take on Mississippi Delta in a Friday noon doubleheader before returning home to play host to Coahoma in a Tuesday twin bill set for a 4 p.m. first pitch on the Scooba campus.