PERKINSTON – Late-game miscues broke open a pair of close contests, as the visiting Lions of East Mississippi Community College fell twice, 7-0 and 10-2, to Mississippi Gulf Coast during Friday's MACJC conference baseball action played at Ken "Curly" Farris Field.
In the opening game, Gulf Coast starting pitcher Dawson Hall limited the Lions to just one hit over eight innings before giving way to Darby Gilbert to complete the shutout.
EMCC's best opportunity to score in the opener came in the third inning when Carter Bentley walked and John Ross Briggs hit a bloop single to right field. They each moved up a base on a subsequent groundout but were left stranded in scoring position following an inning-ending strikeout.
The Bulldogs were held scoreless by EMCC starting pitcher Josh Smith until Dee Hawthorne and Castor Lee opened the fourth inning with back-to-back singles. They later came around to score on a sacrifice fly by Ike Williams followed by a successful double steal.
After Tanner Estill's RBI double made it a 3-0 game in the sixth, a pair of EMCC errors an inning later opened the door for four unearned runs to extend MGCCC's lead to 7-0. Estill's two-run single highlighted the Bulldogs' four-run seventh.
The Bulldogs took an early 1-0 lead in the first frame of the seven-inning nightcap when Miller Hancock reached base on a bunt single, then stole second and third base before racing home on a dropped third strike throw to first base.
EMCC's first run of the day came on Chase Jones' one-out solo blast in the fourth inning off Bulldog starting pitcher Truitt Smith.
With the score tied at 1-1 through four innings, EMCC sophomore right-hander Jaxen Forrester had allowed just two bunt singles along with having reached a career-high 11 strikeouts after fanning the first two Bulldog batters in the fifth inning. Two-out trouble began when a misjudged fly ball in shallow right-center field was then followed by three consecutive singles to increase Gulf Coast's lead to 3-1.
Forrester pitched into the sixth inning and had retired two batters early in the frame before defensive mistakes late in the game again proved costly for the visitors. Cullan O'Shea took advantage of EMCC's costly miscues in the frame by smacking a three-run homer off Lion reliever Garrett Brown to highlight the Bulldogs' seven-run inning.
Coach Brett Kimbrel's EMCC Lions, 7-25 overall and 4-15 in conference play, are scheduled to resume a seven-inning home game Monday afternoon against Hinds that was previously postponed due to rain. First pitch for Monday's EMCC-Hinds resumption contest is set for 4 p.m. at Gerald Poole Field on the Scooba campus. East Mississippi will then close out its 2019 home baseball slate by playing host to the Meridian Eagles in a 4 p.m. Wednesday doubleheader.