No. 20 Bulldogs split with No. 7 Kirkwood

Published 1:51 pm Thursday, March 17, 2022

PERKINSTON — No. 20 Mississippi Gulf Coast needed a big hit late down a run in Wednesday’s opener against No. 7 Kirkwood. The Bulldogs had the right player up at the plate at the right time.


K.K. Agner (So., Horn Lake/Magnolia Heights) ripped a double over the center fielder’s head for a two-run double that put Gulf Coast ahead 8-7 in the bottom of the seventh.

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“I got a changeup or a dropball,” she said. “I just knew I had to hit it hard somewhere. It felt good to get my confidence back because I’ve been struggling seeing the ball.”


The Bulldogs (9-12) lost the second game 4-0 despite outhitting the Eagles 6-4. Kirkwood is 10-6.


Kate Brannan (Fr., Enterprise/Enterprise) led off the sixth with a walk, and Kristian Jones (So., Southaven/DeSoto Central) followed with her fourth hit of the game.


One out later, Agner delivered.


“That’s was huge,” Gulf Coast coach David Kuhn said. “That’s when she’s got to come through. The two-run double put us ahead. That’s what she’s got to do.”


Gulf Coast trailed 2-0 in the fourth when Darcy Novak (So., Hurley/East Central) tied it with a two-run single. After a sacrifice and a strikeout, Jones laced a two-run single.


She was the hero last spring when the teams met in an elimination game in the NJCAA Division II Championship in Oxford, Ala. She hit a two-run homer to spark a six-run eighth inning in an 8-2 win.


“It felt really good today,” she said. “It felt like we came together and started off hard. We’ve been struggling doing that in the first game, so I think we did really good.”


Kirkwood tied it at 4 in the fifth, but the Bulldogs went back ahead when a run scored in the bottom of the inning on a wild pitch. Alyssia Little (So., Brandon/Brandon) beat out a throw at first to allow another run to score on a fielder’s choice.


The Eagles scored three in the sixth to take the lead and set up Agner’s hero moment.


“We had a chance to win both games, and we had a chance to lose both games,” Kuhn said. “They outperformed us in Game 2, so we’ll take the split.”


Gulf Coast quickly turns its focus to conference play. The Bulldogs travel to Meridian on Thursday for a doubleheader, which starts at 1 p.m. There will be no stream.


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