|Ethridge's pitching gem helps EMCC Lions earn home baseball doubleheader split against Northeast|
SCOOBA – Freshman right-hander Smokey Ethridge’s one-hit 1-0 shutout in game one helped East Mississippi Community College gain an MACJC North Division baseball doubleheader split with visiting Northeast Mississippi Community College Saturday afternoon at EMCC’s Gerald Poole Field.
In sharp contrast to their solid all-around team performance in the opener, the Lions committed nine errors in game two to drop a 13-0 run-rule decision to the Tigers in the six-inning nightcap.
In the classic first game pitcher’s duel between Ethridge and Northeast’s Daymon Eriksen, EMCC managed to load the bases in the opening frame but couldn’t push across a run. The Tigers’ biggest threat early in the contest came in the third when Chris Aichinger led off the inning with their lone hit of the contest and was moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Aichinger later advanced to third on a wild pitch, but Ethridge retired the next two batters to keep the game scoreless.
Meanwhile, Eriksen was tossing a one-hitter of his own heading into the bottom of the sixth. Tyler Bonaventure led things off by grounding to short, but Northeast shortstop Trae Allison double-clutched and his resulting throw across the diamond caused Aichinger to come off the bag at first base. A wild pitch sent Bonaventure to second and a subsequent ground out advanced him to third with two outs. Holden Watts then became EMCC’s hitting hero by blasting a run-scoring double off the base of the left-field wall through a brisk wind blowing across the playing field from left to right.
The dramatics were not over, however, as the Tigers threatened again in the top of the seventh. Lead-off batter Corey Smith reached on a throwing error by Bonaventure at second base and was moved over to second with a sacrifice bunt. After Ethridge got Josh Mills to bounce back to the mound for the second out, Smith advanced to third on a passed ball. With the potential tying run just 90 feet away, Ethridge closed out his pitching gem by getting Allison to ground out to Bonaventure at second.
In upping his pitching record to a club-best 6-2 on the season, Ethridge fanned three and walked two in going the distance. The former West Lauderdale product threw 91 pitches, 56 for strikes, and enticed Tiger batters to hit into 14 ground ball outs.
In the nightcap, the home-standing Lions couldn’t maintain the momentum generated by Ethridge’s masterful mound performance. Game two starting pitcher Blake Roberts was the victim of three unearned runs in the top of the first and another unearned tally in the third made it 4-0 in favor of the visitors. However, the floodgates would open in the fourth after the Tigers loaded the bases with three straight hits to start the inning. From that point, Northeast proceeded to bat around and, with the aid of four EMCC errors in the fourth inning alone, would extend the insurmountable lead to 9-0.
As the Tigers batted around again during their four-run sixth inning, aided by yet two more Lion miscues, they were benefitting from another complete-game pitching effort. Sophomore left-hander Eric Wilson limited EMCC to just four singles – two by former Columbus High School product Leroy Wilson - while striking out three and issuing just one walk.
Still battling for a possible postseason berth in next month’s MACJC State Playoffs, head coach Chris Rose’s EMCC Lions, now 16-23 overall and 7-12 in MACJC North Division play, close out their home slate by playing host to Coahoma Community College in a 4 p.m. Wednesday doubleheader on the Scooba campus. The Lions will conclude the regular season on Saturday in a road twin-bill against Mississippi Delta Community College in Moorhead.
|Last Updated ( Saturday, 21 April 2012 )|
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