Gulf Coast grabs split with No. 7 MCC
Published 1:50 pm Thursday, March 17, 2022
PERKINSTON — Mississippi Gulf Coast grabbed a split against No. 7 Meridian thanks to big home runs from Alec Hardy and Alex McWhorter in the opener at Ken “Curly” Farris Field.
They propelled the Bulldogs to an 8-7 win before falling 8-1 in the nightcap to stay at .500 early in the MACCC race.
“We beat a real tough team,” Gulf Coast coach Bob Keller said. “Credit to their Game 2 pitcher, but I like where we’re headed. I feel like we have a small hump to get over. I told the guys I was proud of their effort today.”
Gulf Coast is 7-12 overall, 2-2 in MACCC play.
Hardy (So., Wiggins/Stone) put the Bulldogs ahead 5-3 in the seventh with a three-run blast.
“I got a fastball up, which is exactly what I was looking for,” he said. “Coach has been telling us to cut the plate in half, so I was trying to stay inside the ball. I got my pitch, and I hit it.”
He also had a double for the Bulldogs, who maximized their run output on eight hits.
“Hardy is ready to hit on the first pitch,” Keller said. “He’s a team guy who’ll play anywhere in the field. He’s a leader in the dugout, just quality character. He’s what we want this program to be all about.”
After Meridian tied the game at 5 with a pair of runs in the eighth, Brendan McCauley (So., Gulfport/Harrison Central) answered with a squeeze bunt before a two-run homer by McWhorter (So., Semmes, Ala./Faith Academy).
“Usually I’m a big fastball hunter, but he’s dominantly a curveball pitcher so I went up there and was sitting on it,” he said. “It’s been a rough couple of weeks, but I definitely feel like I’m back.”
McWhorter also had two hits.
Jesse Johnson (So., Purvis/Purvis) had a two-run single in the first for a 2-1 lead before a pair of Meridian solo homers in the sixth gave the Eagles the lead.
“This is two good starts in a row by Adam May, and we had five quality starts in a row for the pitching staff,” Keller said. “I feel like it’s starting to blend a little bit. I’m real proud of our two freshman starts today. It gives us some real hope down the line.”
May (Fr., Magee/Magee) went 5.1 innings, scattering eight hits and allowing three runs to keep Gulf Coast in striking distance. Breck Jones (So., Gulfport/Gulfport) bridged 1.2 innings to get the ball to McWhorter, who threw the final two innings for the win.
Gulf Coast (7-12, 2-2 MACCC) travels to Northwest Mississippi on Saturday. First pitch is set for 2 p.m.
For more information on MGCCC’s 10 intercollegiate athletic teams, follow @MGCCCBulldogs on Twitter and MGCCCBulldogs on Facebook, and go to mgcccbulldogs.com.