FULTON – The Lions of East Mississippi Community College outhit Itawamba during both games of Tuesday's MACJC baseball road doubleheader, but the visitors came up short both times in falling, 6-1 and 11-8, to the 13th-ranked Indians at ICC's Roy Cresap Field.
In the opening game, ICC got on the board first with Lane Domino's second-inning sacrifice fly off EMCC starting pitcher Reid Blakely. In his first collegiate start, Blakely pitched into the sixth inning before giving way to the bullpen.
The Indians went on to increase their lead to 4-0 in the sixth when Domino's two-run double was followed by a sacrifice fly off the bat of Brett Coker.
After getting shut out by ICC starting pitcher Justin Medlin through seven innings, the Lions were able to reach reliever Jackson Lancaster for an unearned run in the eighth inning following a leadoff walk to Tyler Miller. The Indians got the run back and added another tally in the bottom half of the frame to secure their 6-1 triumph in the nine-inning opener.
During the seven-inning nightcap, the lead changed hands three times and the Lions banged out twice as many hits as Itawamba in a losing effort.
EMCC took the upper hand initially by scoring three times in the opening frame of the second game. An RBI double by Chase Jones highlighted the four-hit inning for the Lions.
The Indians answered an inning later with four runs in the bottom of the second. The big blow of the inning was Kyle Crigger's two-out, three-run homer off EMCC starting pitcher Chance Denson.
The visitors responded in their next at-bat by plating a pair of two-out runs on back-to-back, bases-loaded walks to S.T. McMurrian and John Ross Briggs to move ahead 5-4. Two innings later, Dillon Brown's leadoff homer off ICC starting pitcher Hunter Hughes gave the Lions a short-lived 6-4 lead.
After Denson loaded the bases to begin the bottom of the fifth, the Indians proceeded to bat around and score five runs on only one hit by taking advantage of a variety of EMCC miscues in the field. ICC's five-run inning was capped by Crigger's two-out, two-run hit off Jaxen Forrester.
The two teams each scored twice in the sixth to account for the 11-8 final margin. After the Lions scored a pair of runs in the top of the frame to cut the deficit to 9-8, they left the bases loaded for the second time in the game. The Indians got the runs right back in the bottom of the inning on Ray Sandroni's two-out, two-run single off Garrett Brown.
Doubling ICC's hit total in the game, the Lions' 16-hit attack in the nightcap was led by Josh Smith's three singles in five plate appearances. Five other EMCC players had two hits apiece in the second contest.
Coach Brett Kimbrel's 3-13 EMCC Lions will step out of conference action by playing host to Shelton State Community College in a 2 p.m. Sunday doubleheader at Gerald Poole Field on the Scooba campus.