BOONEVILLE – The fifth-ranked Lions of East Mississippi Community College used a five-run sixth inning to claim a come-from-behind 7-5 road win over Northeast Mississippi in Tuesday's opening game of an MACJC North Division baseball doubleheader split with the Tigers. Northeast came back to post an 8-1 nightcap victory over the Lions in the twin bill played at Harold T. White Field.
With Tuesday's split in Booneville, EMCC's Lions and the Northeast Tigers remain tied atop the division standings at 9-3 following the completion of the first rotation of the MACJC North Division baseball schedule.
In the opener, the Lions took an immediate 1-0 lead as Chase Nyman smacked the first pitch he saw from Northeast starting pitcher Landon Boyd and deposited it over the right field fence for his second home run of the year. After the Tigers answered with the tying run in the bottom of the second, EMCC's Chase Reeves put the visitors back on top with a solo homer of his own – his fourth of the year and fifth of his collegiate career – in the third inning.
Northeast used the middle portion of the contest to tally a pair of runs in the fourth and a solo score the next frame off EMCC starting pitcher Chase Cameron to move in front 4-2 after five innings. The Tigers tied the game on an RBI double by Ben Foster in the fourth while taking the lead on sacrifice flies off the bats of Scott Pala and Easton Hall.
After leaving a pair of runners on base during each of the previous four innings, including hitting into inning-ending double plays in the fourth and fifth frames, East Mississippi went through the batting order in the sixth inning. Fueled by a one-out infield throwing error, the Lions got a bases-loaded sacrifice fly from Reeves to make it 4-3. After Tyler Odom was hit by a pitch to reload the sacks, Trent Waddell cleared the bases with a single and subsequent errant throw back into the infield. Colton Caver capped the five-run rally with a run-scoring single to give the visitors a 7-4 lead.
Northwest managed to get a run back in the sixth on Jack Hurdle's RBI infield single off winning pitcher Hunter Graham, who improved to 3-1 on the year. Sophomore closer Conner Burton nailed down the 7-5 victory with his fifth save of the campaign by working a scoreless seventh inning.
EMCC out-hit Northeast, 13-9, with four Lion players posting multi-hit outings in the opener. Nyman, a former Ole Miss signee by way of Pascagoula, went 3-for-3 at the plate and reached base all five times with a couple of walks. Reeves, Waddell and Blake Key all added two hits apiece.
In the nightcap, the home team grabbed an early 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first on Trent Turner's three-run blast off EMCC starting pitcher J'Daylin Jackson. The Lions struck for the only time in game two an inning later when Key's second home run of the season made it a two-run contest.
But that was the only offense EMCC could muster the rest of the way off winning pitcher David Gibson, who went to 3-1 on the year with the victory. The sophomore right-hander allowed only three more base runners following Key's second-inning homer before leaving the contest in the final frame.
Northeast added a solo run in the fifth and then tacked on four additional insurance runs the following inning, highlighted by a two-run homer by Hall and an RBI triple from Heath Wood.
Jackson, EMCC's freshman left-hander from Greenville, took his first loss in seven decisions on the year. The former St. Joseph Catholic School standout pitched into the sixth inning before giving way to reliever Hunter Swart.
Coach Chris Rose's 22-8 EMCC Lions will be back on the road to take on the Bulldogs of Holmes Community College in a Saturday doubleheader slated for a 2 p.m. first pitch in Goodman.