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Beech’s homers power EMCC to 8-7 nightcap win to earn split at No. 11 Northeast

BOONEVILLE — The visiting Lions of East Mississippi Community College earned a road split against the preseason 11th-ranked Northeast Mississippi Tigers with an 8-7 comeback win during the nightcap of Tuesday’s doubleheader played at the Northeast Baseball Complex.  Northeast claimed the opener with a 3-2 nine-inning victory over EMCC.

After dropping the opener to NEMCC on John Basil’s walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Lions got on the board first in the seven-inning nightcap with Austin Beech’s first-inning sacrifice fly.  Northeast’s Ramsey Ivy countered an inning later with a leadoff solo shot off EMCC starting pitcher Cade Davis to tie the game.

The visitors answered in the fourth frame by moving on top, 2-1, with Beech’s leadoff solo blast – his first of two homers in the contest.  Northeast quickly went back in front, 6-2, in the home half when Shawn Dalton Weatherbee’s grand slam off Davis highlighted the Tigers’ five-run fourth.

EMCC immediately responded by cutting the deficit to a run on Rye McGlothin’s two-out, three-run blast in the fifth inning.

The teams traded solo runs in the sixth when Al Dumas’ bases-loaded sacrifice fly was answered by Luke Willard’s leadoff homer to maintain the Tigers’ one-run (7-6) lead.

Following Reiley Tate’s leadoff bloop double to right field in the seventh, Beech capped a four-RBI outing by blasting his second home run of the game to give the Lions an 8-7 lead.  EMCC’s Dakota Boney then worked a 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh with a pair of strikeouts to earn the victory in relief.

At the plate, Beech, Tate and McGlothin paced the Lions’ eight-hit team effort with two hits apiece in the victory.  Beech, a sophomore outfielder from Pascagoula, scored three times in the game in addition to his pair of homers and four runs batted in.

In the opening contest, EMCC and Northeast swapped first-inning tallies.  Beech scored on a wild pitch following his two-out triple, while the Tigers countered with Basil’s two-out RBI single.

As EMCC starting pitcher Will Long settled in to throw five subsequent shutout innings while facing the minimum at the plate during that span, the Lions put up another two-out run on back-to-back doubles by Zack Griffith and Blayze Berry in the fourth inning.

With Berry in relief of Long for the Lions, Northeast’s Connor Davis led off the bottom of the seventh with a single and then stole second.  Ivy’s two-out single then plated Davis to tie the score at 2-2.

After the Lions couldn’t get anything started off reliever Seth Bagwell for two innings, Davis led off the bottom of the ninth with a single.  Following a walk, Basil’s single to right field sent Davis home with the game-winning run.

Griffith had two of EMCC’s four hits in the opening game.

On the mound for the Lions, Long had the tough-luck no decision after giving up just two hits and one run – all in the first inning – before tossing five scoreless innings with two strikeouts and no walks.

Coach Brett Kimbrel’s 5-1 EMCC Lions – with all six decisions having come away from home – are scheduled to play host to the Coahoma Tigers in their home opener on Friday in a doubleheader that has been moved up a day in anticipation of this weekend’s colder weather.  Weather permitting, Friday’s first pitch is slated for 2 p.m. at Gerald Poole Field on the Scooba campus.