Wildcats drop two

Published 3:53 am Thursday, March 19, 2009

Special to the Item

POPLARVILLE — The Kansas-based Garden City Community College Broncbusters took a 12-6, 3-2 doubleheader baseball sweep over home standing Pearl River here Tuesday, dropping the Wildcats’ overall record to 10-8.

GCCC, based in Garden City, Kan., improved to 19-6 and will make a return visit to Wildcat Stadium Thursday for a 1 p.m. twin bill. Meanwhile, PRCC travels to Southwest Mississippi in Summit Wednesday for an MACJC South Division doubleheader beginning at 3 p.m.

The ’Busters wasted little time getting on the scoreboard, going up 3-0 in the top of the first inning when a one-out walk by Wildcat starter Patrick Daugherty of West Lauderdale and a single by C.J. Gillman set the stage for Sloan Soulia’s three-run homer.

After PRCC blanked in the bottom of the frame, GCCC padded its lead in the second when Cass Via sacrificed in another run following a walk and a hit batter, then Ben Warner belted a two-run homer to make it 6-0. Gillman followed with a walk and Soulia singled to right before Gillman scored on a throwing error for the Broncbusters’ seventh run.

After Daugherty walked Ben Wilson, he exited the mound for Nicholls State signee Corbin Blaize of Bay High to immediately struck out Brian Chritz for the final out.

The Wildcats began playing catch up in the bottom of the second when Tristan Rogers of Houma, La., another Nicholls signee, cracked a two-out double, setting the stage for a two-run homer by Michael Lindsey of Petal High. Alex Riser of Picayune High followed with a solo homer to make it 7-3 before Garden City starter Nate Van Bibber recorded his second strikeout of the game to end the inning.

The ’Busters managed only a single in the top of the third and Pearl River managed to cut further into their lead in the bottom of the inning. Jake Hawkins of Sumrall High led off by reaching on an error, setting the stage for a two-run homer by Ashley Graeter of Poplarville High to make it 7-5. Matt Discon of Pearl River Central followed with a single, but was left stranded at second after Van Bibber retired three straight to end the inning.

Three base on balls in the top of the fourth set the stage for Andrew Phelan’s two-out grand slam homer to make it 11-5, then GCCC scored its final run of the game in the fifth when Gillman cracked an RBI single off Chase Ezelle of Petal High who relieved Blaize to start the frame.

After Van Bibben walked Hawkins and Graeter singled in the bottom of the fifth, he was relieved by Reece McGraw. Discon reached on a fielder’s choice, then Ethan Burt of Presbyterian Christian singled in Hawkins for the game’s final run.

PRCC loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the final frame via a single by Zach Farrar of Brandon, a Rogers walk, and a Lindsey single, but Riser grounded out to end the game.

Van Bibber got the win in his four innings on the mound, striking out seven and walking one; while reliever McGraw went one inning (one strike out) before Joemar Melendez arrived in the sixth and closed it out (two walks).

Daugherty (2-3) got the loss in his one-and-one-thirds innings on the mound, walking four and hitting one batter; while Blaize went two-and-one-thirds, striking out six and walking two. Ezell relieved in the fifth, striking out three and walking one.

Garden City finished with eight hits, led by Warner’s homer and two singles (two RBIs), while Soulia homered and singled (three RBIs), Phelan homered (four RBIs), and Gillman (one RBI) and Luke Kordsmeier both has base hits.

Graeter (two RBIs) and Lindsey (two RBIs) both homered and singled to pace the Wildcats’ 10-hit attack, while Rogers doubled and singled, Riser homered (one RBI), and Burt (one RBI), Discon, and Farrar all had base hits.

PRCC committed two errors in the game to GCCC’s one.

In the nightcap, the Wildcats went up 2-0 early with solo runs in the bottom of the first and second and that score remained intact until the Broncbusters took the lead for good with three runs in the sixth.

Reliever Heath Wyatt got the win after taking over the mound in the sixth, while starter Jose Cifuentes went three innings before McGraw arrived to pitch the fourth. Melendez pitched the fifth.

Kody Lancaster of Lumberton High (2-1) got the loss after relieving in the sixth, while starter Josh Jones of Columbia High went five innings, striking out eight and walking one. Sean Kelly of Pearl River Central pitched the seventh.

Garden City finished with five hits. Again, Warner led the way at the plate with a double, while Chritz, Gillman, Kordsmeier, and Via all had base hits.

Burt led Pearl River’s seven-hit effort with a pair of singles, while Hawkins, Lindsey, Rogers, Logan Sobiesk of Oak Grove, and Bryn Whitehead of Sumrall High all had base hits.

Each team committed one error in the game.

Following Wednesday’s Southwest Mississippi doubleheader in Summit and Thursday’s rematch with Garden City, PRCC plays host to MACJC South Division rival Copiah-Lincoln Saturday in a 1 p.m. doubleheader.