|EMCC Lions earn road baseball doubleheader split with fourth-ranked Itawamba|
FULTON – The visiting Lions of East Mississippi Community College took advantage of four Itawamba errors to earn a 4-3 win over the fourth-ranked Indians in game one to earn a Wednesday afternoon baseball doubleheader split at ICC’s Roy Cresap Field. Itawamba salvaged the split by taking the nightcap by a 5-2 score over EMCC.
Three unearned runs scored by the visitors made the difference in the opener as the Lions took an early 2-0 lead by scoring solo unearned tallies in the second and third innings. Josh Tentoni’s two-out single in the second plated Jason Yarbor. The next inning, Austin Braddock came around to score on Zane Migues’ RBI single.
Itawamba cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the third on back-to-back singles by Tyler Tipton and Channing Nanney followed by a run-scoring fielder’s choice from Cody Shrewsbury.
In support of starting pitcher Corbin Johnson and middle reliever Smokey Ethridge, the Lions tacked on two more runs in the fifth after Braddock, Tyler Bonaventure and Migues loaded the bases with three straight singles to lead off the inning. Yarbor and Holden Watts subsequently produced the third and fourth runs for the visitors to knock out ICC starting pitcher Colin Minga.
The Indians fought back to scratch out two more runs in the sixth before Lion reliever Blake Roberts got Shrewsbury to fly out with the bases loaded to preserve the 4-3 EMCC lead. ICC came back to rally the next inning as well by putting runners on first and second base with only one out. However, Roberts got William Goss to hit into a game-ending double play to earn his third save of the season for the Lions.
Johnson, a freshman right-hander from Quitman, picked up his first collegiate win in three decisions for EMCC, while Minga fell to 3-3 on the year as ICC’s tough-luck loser.
Offensively for the Lions in the opener, Migues and Aaron Brady led the way with a pair of singles each.
With a 9-7 advantage in the hits category in the opener, EMCC also out-hit the Indians, 5-4, during the nightcap.
The first inning set the tone for game two as Itawamba loaded the bases on an infield error and back-to-back walks allowed by EMCC starter Blake Thomas. Goss earned a one-out walk with the bases full to give Thomas an early exit. Reliever Dillon Hawkins then walked Jeremy Ferguson to force in the second run and Ben Hudspeth followed with a sacrifice fly to put the Indians in front 3-0.
Itawamba added solo runs in the third and fourth innings off Hawkins to move ahead 5-0. After stranding two runners on base in the third inning without scoring, the Lions finally reached ICC starter Landon Brister for a pair of runs in the fifth inning. A two-out walk to Ismael Reyes sandwiched between singles by Brady and Leroy Wilson loaded the bases in time for Braddock’s two-run single.
However, that was all EMCC would be able to muster off Brister, who went on to retire the next seven batters en route to earning the complete-game victory and improve to 6-1 on the season. The Houston High School product struck out six and walked just one in going the distance for the Indians, who raised their record to 30-8 overall and 16-4 in MACJC North Division play.
At the plate for the Lions in game two, Brady, a South Jones product, again had two singles to cap off a 4-for-7 afternoon at the plate. Wilson, of Columbus, also went for 2-for-3 for EMCC in the nightcap.
Now 15-22 overall and 6-11 within the MACJC North Division after playing three straight doubleheaders away from home, head coach Chris Rose’s EMCC Lions return to the Scooba campus to play host to Northeast Mississippi Community College in a 1 p.m. Saturday twin-bill at EMCC’s Gerald Poole Field.
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