EMCC Lions earn home doubleheader baseball split with ECCC to begin MACCC play

Published 1:59 pm Tuesday, March 15, 2022

SCOOBA — Blayze Berry’s complete-game pitching performance and an eight-run sixth inning in game two lifted the home-standing Lions of East Mississippi Community College to a conference-opening doubleheader split with nationally fifth-ranked East Central Community College during Friday’s MACCC baseball action played at Gerald Poole Field.

Berry went the distance on the mound and had two of EMCC’s 10 singles in the 9-3 seven-inning nightcap victory. The Lions jumped out to an early 5-0 lead through three frames of the nine-inning opener, but they couldn’t maintain the advantage en route to dropping a 14-10 decision despite hitting five home runs in the contest.

The nightcap featured a pitching duel between Berry and ECCC’s Grant Edwards. While the Warriors stranded five runners in scoring position through the first four innings, the Lions manufactured the game’s first run when Berry beat out a potential inning-ending double play ball that plated Austin Garrison in the third inning.

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That solo run held up until EMCC sent 13 batters to the plate during an eight-run sixth inning that broke open the contest. The Lions’ big inning featured a two-run single by Ethan Medlin along with run-scoring singles from Beau Bates, Trey Trosclair and Hunter French.

The Warriors managed to rally somewhat in their final at-bat with three runs on a walk and three straight singles to begin the seventh inning, before Berry settled down to get a couple of groundball outs and a fly out to preserve the complete-game victory.

Berry, out of Columbus’ Heritage Academy, scattered seven singles along with two strikeouts and a pair of walks to record his first win of the season and second of his EMCC career. At the plate, the UAB signee contributed two singles, as did Medlin and French to lead the way offensively for the Lions.

In contrast, the opening game featured 24 runs scored and a combined 31 total hits, including seven home runs, between the two teams. In addition, both teams used four pitchers apiece during the offensive slugfest.

The Lions’ power surge was evident early during the afternoon twin bill. Home runs by Wesley Sides and Bates on consecutive pitches in the opening frame put EMCC on top 3-0. A two-out, run-scoring single by Medlin in the second inning followed by Sides’ second homer in as many at-bats to lead off the third increased the lead to 5-0.

The Warriors got to EMCC starting pitcher Cade Davis by batting around in the fourth inning. The six-run frame was highlighted by Clayton Cook’s two-out, two-run double and a subsequent two-run homer by Trey Lewis.

After the Lions knotted the score at 6-6 on Coby Holmes’ first career home run in the bottom half of the fourth, East Central went ahead for good by scoring four runs in the fifth inning. Ty McCollough’s solo homer ignited the two-out rally for the visitors.

The two teams traded solo scores in the sixth inning, with EMCC’s run coming on Trey Trosclair’s leadoff homer. Another run by the Lions a frame later on Kade Shannon’s sacrifice fly made the score, 11-8, after seven innings.

Another two-out rally by the Warriors plated three more insurance runs in the ninth inning, before the Lions closed out the game’s scoring with a pair of tallies in the bottom half of the frame on RBI doubles by Trosclair and Holmes. Holmes’ run-scoring double in the ninth capped his 4-for-4 effort at the plate in which he reached base all five times, including a homer, two doubles, a single and a hit-by-pitch.

Sides, with his fourth and fifth homers of the year, and Trosclair each had three hits for EMCC in the opener, while Medlin and Bates added two hits apiece.

Coach Brett Kimbrel’s 6-8 EMCC Lions are scheduled to play a nine-inning solo contest at Shelton State in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Monday (March 14) before resuming conference play on Saturday (March 19) by playing host to Copiah-Lincoln. First pitch for Saturday’s MACCC baseball twin bill is set for 2 p.m. on the Scooba campus.