River wrapping up regular season

Published 7:00 am Saturday, April 26, 2014

POPLARVILLE — The Pearl River Community College baseball team is wrapping up its regular season today against a familiar foe.

Coming off a doubleheader split with visiting Hinds here at Wildcat Stadium earlier in the week, the Wildcats travel to Perkisnton today to face arch-rival Gulf Coast in a doubleheader that begins at 2 p.m.

Pearl River’s Wildcats took a hard-fought 7-6 victory in 10 innings in the opening game against Hinds on Wednesday before falling 3-0 in the nightcap game.

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PRCC is now 25-19 overall and 11-11 in division play, while the visiting Eagles are 26-15 and 16-6.

HCC swept The River in a previous doubleheader play March 30 in Raymond with 8-7 and 2-1 victories.

In the opening game of the twin bill, the first two innings were scoreless, but Hinds went up 3-0 in the top of the third when lead off batter Matt Jones was belted by a pitch, Casey Echols singled to right, Jones scored off Luke Reynolds’ single to left, and Echols scored on a wild pitch. Brian Mills followed with an RBI base hit.

After PRCC starter Philip Chandler walked Chase Lunceford and Caleb Upton to load the bases, the Stone County High product was relieved by Luke McGee, an Ohio State transfer out of Wooster (Oh.) High, who immediately struck out Marshall Boggs before Jones fouled out.

The Wildcats scored their first run in the bottom of the frame when Darien Brown of Hattiesburg High led off with a single to right center, stole second, and scored off a double by Lamar Anthony of Vicksburg High. Hinds starter Chase Cater was relieved by Michael Jolly at that point who retired three straight to end the inning.

After the Eagles left two runners stranded in the top of the fourth, the Wildcats tied it up in the bottom of the frame when Adam Smith of Pascagoula High smacked a two-out line drive single to center field, stole second, and scored off a double to left by Kyle Dolan of Forrest County AHS. Brown followed with an RBI single to right center to knot things at 3-3 before Anthony flew to center to end the inning.

Pearl River took its first lead in the bottom of the fifth when Derrick Mount of Harrison Central High cracked a one-out single, Nathan Pugh of Starkville High walked, and Derek Martin of Poplarville High crushed a two-run double for a 5-3 lead, but was nailed at second base for the final out.

Tyler Cox jacked a towering one-out solo homer over the center field wall to cut The River’s lead to 5-4 in the top of the sixth. McGee walked Mills an out later before Lunceford singled and Trevor Bennett of Hancock County High arrived in relief. Upton then singled, but Mills was nailed at home for the final out.

In the top of the seventh, Bennett struck out lead off Marshall Boggs before Jones doubled to left, moved to third on a passed ball, and scored off Toler Robinson’s single to tie it up at 5-5. That prompted Bennett’s mound exit for Colton Lee of Pearl River Central High who retired Echols before Cox hit into a force out.

Two outs into the bottom of the frame, Daniel Briner relieved Martin and immediately gave up a homer by Pugh to put PRCC up 6-5. Kreg Garner of Northwest Rankin High then reached on a dropped third strike and courtesy runner Jacob Taylor of Picayune High stole second before Derek Martin struck out.

Hinds bounced back to tie it up in the top of the eighth when Reynolds led off with a double to right center, moved to third off Mills’ fly out, and scored off Lunceford’s single to right. After Lee gave up a base hit to Upton and walked Boggs to load the bases, Taylor arrived in relief and struck out two straight to squash the threat.

Austin Sanders took over the mound to start the bottom of the inning and kept the Wildcats at bay. Taylor struck two straight in the top of the ninth and belted Reynolds with a pitch before retiring Mills, while in the bottom of the frame, Sanders gave up a lead off single to Tracy Hadley of Pascagoula High and Mount reached on a fielder’s choice before striking out two straight to end the inning.

Lunceford flew out to left center to lead off the 10th before Taylor K’d Upton and Boggs, while in the bottom of the inning, Taylor outran an infield grounder for a base hits and moved to second off Smith’s sacrifice bunt before Dolan drew an intentional base on balls. That set the stage for Brown’s game-winning RBI single to center field.

Taylor (2-0) got the win in his two-and-two-thirds innings of no-hit relief, striking out six, while Chandler went two-and-a-third, giving up three hits, striking out three, and walking two. McGee went three-and-a-third, giving up six hits, striking out three, and walking one, Bennett two-thirds of a frame, giving up three hits, and striking out one, and Lee one inning, giving up three hits, and walking a batter.

Sanders (5-1) picked up his first loss of the year in his two-and-a-third innings of relief, giving up three hits, striking out two, and walking two, while Cater went two frames, giving up two hits, striking out two, and walking three. Jolly relieved for three innings, giving up five hits, striking out one, and walking two, Martin one-and-two-thirds, giving up a hit and striking out two, and Briner one-third of a frame, giving up a hit and striking out two.

Reynolds paced Hinds’ 15-hit attack with a double and three singles (one RBI), while Upton had three base hits, Jones doubled and singled, Echols and Lunceford (one RBI) had two singles each, Cox homered (one RBI), and Robinson singled (one RBI).

PRCC finished with 12 hits, led by Brown’s three singles (two RBIs), while Dolan had two doubles (one RBI), Anthony doubled (one RBI), and Hadley, Martin (two RBIs), Mount, Pugh (one RBI), Smith, and Taylor (one RBI) all had base hits.

The Wildcats committed one error in the contest to the Eagles’ none.

In the nightcap, River starter Jake Brumfield (6-4) went the distance in getting the loss despite a superb pitching performance. The sophomore right-hander out of Adams Christian Academy in Jackson struck out a whopping 11 Eagle batters and walked two to take the five-hit setback.

Hinds went up 1-0 in the top of the third and added the game’s final two run in the fifth.

Eagle starter Houston Case (2-2) got the win in pitching all seven frames, giving up three hits, striking out five, and walking one.

Echols doubled for Hinds, while Jones (one RBI), Mills, Reynolds (one RBI), and Quade Smith had singles, while Brown, Hadley, and Mount had base hits for Pearl River.

Both teams played error-free.