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PRCC Wildcats open season with a big sweep

POPLARVILLE — Fourth year Pearl River Community College head baseball coach Josh Hoffpauir and his Wildcats got the new season off to quite a successful start late last week.

Hoffpauir’s squad opened its latest campaign with a doubleheader sweep over visiting Marion Military Institute (Ala.) with a pair of dominating wins taking game one 11-1 (six innings) and game two 12-3.s

PRCC is now 2-0 on the year, while MMI remains winless at 0-4.

In the first game, the Wildcats wasted little time getting on the scoreboard posting a solo run in the bottom of the first. Nathan Pugh of Starkville High belted a two-out single to right, stole second base, and scored off a base hit to left center by Jalen Haskin of Oak Grove High.

The River padded its lead in the bottom of the second with a five-run barrage. Kreg Garner of Northwest Rankin High led off with a double to right center and scored off an up-the-middle single by Kyle Dolan of Forrest County AHS. Dolan stole second before Zach O’Hern of Hancock County High reached on an error.

After a double steal, Derrick Mount of Harrison Central High cracked an RBI single to left, while Lamar Anthony of Vicksburg High followed with a another RBI base single to make it 4-0. With runners at first and third, Pugh reached on an error pushing in a fifth run, while Haskin sacrificed in a sixth.

MMI managed its only run of the game in the top of the fourth, but the River rallied again in the bottom of the inning extending its lead to 10-1.

Pugh got The River rolling with a one-out walk, stole second and third, and scored off Haskin’s single. Haskin reached second on a passed ball and scored off a double by Jacob Taylor of Picayune to make it 8-1. The Wildcats scored a ninth run off Dolan’s ground out to short, and Darien Brown of Hattiesburg High was then hit by a pitch, setting the stage for O’Hern’s RBI single to make it 10-1.

In the sixth, a Wildcats’ solo run ended the game via the 10-run rule. Dolan led off with a walk, while O’Hern singled an out later before Garren Berry of Pearl High belted an RBI single to ice the game.

Jake Brumfield (1-0) picked up the win in his four innings on the mound, giving up three hits, striking out five, and walking one.

O’Hern paced the Wildcats’ 13-hit attack with a double and two singles (one RBI). Haskin (three RBIs) and Pugh (one RBI) had two singles each, while Garner and Taylor (one RBI) both doubled. Dolan (two RBIs), Anthony (one RBI), Berry (one RBI), and Mount (one RBI) all had base hits.

In the nightcap, PRCC went up 4-0 in the bottom of the second and never looked back. MMI scored a solo run in the top of the third, but the Wildcats answered with three in the bottom of the fourth to make it 7-1.

In the top of the fifth, the Tigers added two, but The River’s five in the bottom of the sixth iced the victory.

Starter Trevor Bennett of Hancock County High (1-0) picked up the win in his one inning on the mound, striking out two and walking one, while Trey Grice of Forrest County AHS pitched the second and third, giving up two hits, walking two, and hitting a batter. Luke McGee of Wooster, Ohio, High pitched the fourth, fifth, and sixth, giving up five hits, striking out seven, and walking one, while Adam Tumey out of Oak Hill Academy in West Point closed it out in the seventh. Tumey struck out three batters.

Justin Demary out of Iowa (La.) High paced the Wildcats’ 10-hit attack with a double and a single (three RBIs), while Hadley had two base hits (one RBI), Anthony tripled (two RBIs), Mount doubled (one RBI), and Brown, Haskin (one RBI), and Pugh all singled.

The River traveled to Vidalia, La., Saturday to take on Baton Rouge CC (La.) in a doubleheader. A full report on those games will appear in Wednesday’s issue of the Picayune Item.

The Wildcats next home games will be against MACJC non-division rival Mississippi Delta Friday, Feb. 14, in a 3 p.m. twin bill.